When the law persecutes the innocent, that’s the end of it. And those that make the law, too.
In the Nazi-occupied Slovak state, an ineffectual carpenter stumbles into a new position when his fascist brother-in-law designates him the Aryan controller of a tiny haberdasher. The shop’s owner is a sweet, stubborn, mostly-deaf Jewish woman who happily proceeds with business as usual, totally unaware of her state-appointed supervisor. The radiant charm of Ida Kaminská, artistic director and leading actress of Poland’s State Jewish Theater, turns devastating when the dread hanging over the film finally erupts into horror. The confused, terrified betrayal in her eyes drives home that when ordinary people go along with unjust laws, they can enable unspeakable evil on the most vulnerable.
The Bri-terion Collection
I’m loving the Criterion Channel streaming service, so every week I’m going to share my favorite new find.