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January 18, 2006

The Shop on Main Street


Obchod na Korze
Jan Kadar and Elmar Klos - 1965
Criterion Collection Region 1 DVD

I made a point of seeing The Shop on Main Street after reading J. Hoberman's book on Yiddish Cinema. I completely forgot that I had actually seen Ida Kaminska on film, in Jan Kadar's The Angel Levine. I was totally unaware of Kaminska's stage career or that she was a star of Yiddish theater. As it stands right now, none of Ida Kaminska's five previous films are, to the best of my knowledge, unavailable on tape or DVD. Considering the precarious state of film preservation, her two silent films may no longer exist. One could easily excuse war and politics as well as other outside forces, but Poland realized that the Kaminska family, an equivalent to the Barrymores of Yiddish theater, were a national treasure well after the surviving family members left Europe. The Shop on Main Street is a reminder of a career that survived tremendous obstacles, with world wide acclamation while Ida Kaminska's skills were still vital.

Posted by peter at January 18, 2006 11:17 PM