Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
A lazy, itinerant Slovak villager is given what he thinks is a golden goose when his Nazi-collaborating brother-in-law assigns him as the ‘Aryan’ supervisor of an old Jewish woman’s button shop. At first thrilled at the opportunity to bring more money home, the man eventually grows a conscience as he realizes that the horrors of World War II are aimed at this adorable old lady (Ida Kaminska) who has absolutely no idea what is going on. Becoming her protector is no easy task, however, not in a town where Jewish sympathizers are persecuted as much as Jews are. This heartwarming film is a skillful combination of wry humour and heartbreaking tragedy, a truly humane masterpiece that illuminates all too well the horrors of prejudice and bigotry.
Story by Ladislav Grosman, Screenplay by Ladislav Grosman, Jan Kadar, Elmar Klos
Cinematography by Vladimir Novotny
Music by Zdenek Liska
Production Design by Karel Skvor
Costume Design by Marie Rosenfelderova