The Junk Shop

Synopsis: Juraj Herz adapts Bohumil Hrabal's story about a man who works in a junk shop.
Genre: Comedy, Short
Director(s): Juraj Herz
Production: Criterion Collection
31 min


Central Film Archive presents
















Dear Saint Judas Thaddaeus,

good bloke that you are,

put in a kind word in Heaven

so when the butchers bring their pans

full of blood and stinking flesh,

their van veers off the road

down into the Vltava river.

And when those pharmacists

dump empty sacks of powder,

their vehicles are squashed flat

and the drivers are afflicted

by heart attacks and leprosy,

and all their tyres are punctured,

so when they come to us,

their lorries are too wide

for our driveway.

OK? Will you fix that? Amen.

Damn it all!

- A good morrow to you, honest fellow!

- I have to take all this down.

And screw it all back

in the church on the other side.

Our Lord must have

really strong nerves.

Heaven makes no distinction

between a doctor or an engineer.

Hana, bring your cart.

I have some art junk for your boss.

Yes, I will. The Collection Centre

will be delighted.


Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year.

Aren't you a bit early today?

Well, I overslept a little.

I have a question, though.

Have you seen a big car round here?

- What kind of car?

- A normal one, but I see you haven't.

- Well, I had a little chat.

- What have you been saying, Hana?

What a quiet life we'd have,

if Hana would keep his mouth shut.

He just talks and talks

wherever he goes.

- Here's the fourth one.

- Yes.

He's told his friends

I was poisoned by Schweinfurt green

while painting a nude.

How can I sleep in peace?

What idiot has made all this mess?

Hello, Miss Marcella!

Hello, inspiration personified!

An oil painting, in a gold frame -

how beautiful that would be!

This world is full of strange beauty.

A single lifetime

isn't enough...

Send the money

to the Works Council

But save half of it for our lunch.

What about lottery tickets instead?

Yes, let him win a car!

Our boss has won it already.

We divided the rest of the prizes

between us.

You might win mittens,

a shawl or a book at best...


Or sh*t, most likely.

Thank God I have my family tomb.

I don't like football results

like six to nil or five to one.

There's no drama in that.

I prefer to see the better team

lose a decisive contest

with two penalty kicks

hitting the bar

and their own defence

shooting into their own goal.

That's what I call dramatic.


What have I done to deserve this?

Another sleepless night...

Good afternoon.

Good afternoon.

- What do you want for this?

- A lottery ticket.

We'll give you one, of course.

And you're sure to win a car.

Lovely eyes he has...

So bright, so clear!

Let's weigh it.

Five kilograms.

One Czech crown or a lottery ticket?

Only one crown? Why so mean?

Twenty hellers for a kilo.

That's one crown or a lottery ticket.

But this isn't just ordinary paper.

These are letters from my darlings,

my love letters.

You've come to the wrong address.

This is the Collection Centre,

not an auction hall.

Letters written by Hemingway

or even Churchill

would fetch the same price.

One crown per kilogram.

Or... one lottery ticket.

I'll keep the letters then.

You should have taken them.

They contain my whole life.

What wonderful letters -

and some of them even in verse!

Get out of here!

One crown and not a heller more!

- Or a lottery ticket.

- Or... a ticket.

Can I even believe my own eyes?

- Hello.

- Hello, darling Hedwig.

Come in...

Those legs!

Thirty kilograms?

You carried such a load?!

Hana, it's half past ten.

Go to the cellar! OK!

We have a goose here, boss.

Leave it alone then!

But it's only quarter past...

Oh, the sacristan said

he had something special for you.

He asked me to come with a cart.

Well, what are you waiting for?

Get over there at once!


What's your goose doing here?

Here's the receipt.

Thirty kilos.

And now let's weigh sweet Hedwig.

Only forty-six kilos?

So light? ls that even possible?


Who shall we weigh next?

Well, Bohou, of course.

Those hands... Ah, those hands.

You weigh one hundred

and sixty-five kilograms.


One hundred and sixty-five

and thirty grams.

I found it, finally!

Now you weigh ninety-five!

That's impossible.

You're looking from the wrong angle.

These are

from a cashier from Drd'any.

He embezzled funds because of me.

Got twenty years for it.

And I only get one crown?

You ought to be ashamed!

If you looked from the right,

it's five kilos less

and from the left five kilos more.

Look at it from the front.

I'd like to carve you in limewood...

...and focus on this spot...

- Naughty...

- Why?

You know why!

You probably won't believe me

but I used to be a circus dancer.

My father was a Red Indian

and every night we used

to throw knives around Mother.

I believe everything you say.

Here's five crowns. Now get out!

Don't let me see you again,

you ugly witch.

She really was beautiful.

Damn vermin!

He got my invoice mixed up

with the waste paper!

I've been working on it for days!

Where did you put it, please?

Don't make me laugh, lady.

It's right here, in amongst all this paper.

- See what you've done?

- Maenka!

Go on, start searching!

Thank God for my family tomb...

There's no paper, no lunatics, nothing.

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Juraj Herz

Juraj Herz (4 September 1934 – 8 April 2018) was a Slovak film director, actor, and scene designer, associated with the Czechoslovak New Wave movement of the 1960s. He is best known for his 1968 horror/black comedy The Cremator, often cited as one of the best Czechoslovak films of all time, though many of his other films achieved cult status. He directed for both film and television, and in the latter capacity he directed episodes of a French-Czech television series based on George Simenon's Maigret novels. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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