Saturday, April 27, 2013


Slow at times, but overall touching story of a simple carpenter, Anton Brtko, who, in the early days of WWII, is suddenly named the "Aryan manager" of a small sewing supply shop ran by an elderly Jewish widow, Mrs. Lautmannova.  Brtko isn't too comfortable with the situation and when he tries to explain what's happening to Mrs. Lautmannova she's so hard of hearing and just plain old that she has no idea what he's talking about.  Eventually she comes to believe that he is her nephew there to help her run the store.  As time goes by Brtko keeps up the facade and their relationship grows...then the Nazi's come to take away the Jews.

Although the story is sad, it's really not as sad as it could have been.  To begin with Brtko isn't that likeable of a guy and yeah, I really felt sorry for Mrs. Lautmannova but she was so senile that she was pretty much clueless.  Also the Nazi's were assholes, of course, but they could have easily been portrayed as much worse.  Good film, with a promising story premise, but it could have been told much more powerfully than it was.  Something in the back of my mind tells me that Mikhail Kalatozov would have made an a much more satisfying film from this story.  That's just my two cents.  It's still worth watching.