6.5/10
156
4 user 3 critic

The Shoe (1998)

Kurpe (original title)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Raimonds, a 12 year old boy, falls into a world of petty crime while trying to stay out of trouble with his mother.

Director: Janis Nords
Stars: Kristofers Konovalovs, Vita Varpina, Matiss Livcans
The Hostage (2006)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Director: Laila Pakalnina
Stars: Branko Zavrsan, Kristaps Mednis, Ivars Brakovskis
Kolka Cool (2011)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A film that depicts the mentality of the inhabitants of a small village on the Baltic coast. Three guys are trying to fulfill their life's by drinking beer, killing time and picking up ... See full summary »

Director: Juris Poskus
Stars: Aigars Apinis, Agnese Civle, Gatis Gaga
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Another iconic Latvian film, known to be one of the best movies of director Janis Streics. When old auntie Mirta succeeds in a lottery and wins a car, which she cannot use herself, ... See full summary »

Director: Janis Streics
Stars: Gundars Abolins, Romualds Ancans, Lilita Berzina
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The film dramatizes November 11, 1919- a crucial date in the battle for Latvian independence. A year after the end of the official hostilities of WWI, a renegade German general and troops ... See full summary »

Director: Aigars Grauba
Stars: Janis Reinis, Elita Klavina, Girts Krumins
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: Janis Streics
Stars: Janis Paukstello, Galina Maculevica, Evalds Valters
The Python (2003)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

An absurdist farce centering around a school in post-Soviet Latvia. After a rather disgusting prank (someone defecates in the school attic), the tyrannical headmistress deems that no one ... See full summary »

Director: Laila Pakalnina
Stars: Juris Grave, Intars Janbergs, Januss Johansons
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Ivars Brakovskis ...
Militiaman Kristaps
Igors Buraks ...
Andrej
Viktors Cestnovs ...
Roberts
Andrejs Garnavl ...
Lieutenant
Lyudmila Golubeva
Vadims Grossmans ...
Volodja
Jevgenijs Ivanicevs ...
Major Johanson
Alna Jaunzeme ...
Nina
Aivars Kalnarajs
Vilke Liman ...
Vilka
Arko Okk ...
Man With a White Hat in the Cyclecar Driven by Juris Pakalninsh
Olegs Teterins ...
Master Sergeant Manedov
Jaan Tätte ...
Juhan
Alja Uzulena ...
Jautrite
Irina Yegorova ...
Roberts's wife
Edit

Storyline

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Comedy

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 January 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Shoe  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Off-balance piece of absurdity
9 August 2009 | by (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

There are not many films out there quite like 'The Shoe,' which is so unusual that you should see it at least twice to really savour its 'messages'. Are you watching a wildly funny satire of officialdom, a condemnation of mindless autocracy, or a vivid example of the folly of human existence? I submit that you're watching all that and much more, and it's all achieved in a mere 75 minutes of screen time.

Writer/director Laila Pakalnina's film focuses on a simple, absurd premise -- a woman's shoe is found on a makeshift 'borderline' on a Baltic Sea beach in late-1950s Latvia, at the time a Soviet Socialist Republic under the often brutal control of the Russian Army. The shoe is seen by the grim-faced, fanatically over-reacting Soviet occupiers as a clear sign that their command has been 'infiltrated' by enemy agents.

A hapless trio of soldiers is sent to scour the nearby port town to find the owner of the fugitive shoe. In full bumbling flight worthy at times of the Keystone Kops, they ask woman after woman to try the shoe on; if the shoe fits, so to speak, the woman, presumably, would be deemed guilty of espionage. This Cinderella idea seems insane, but for the bored, under-tasked, isolated, excitable and mountains-from-molehills Soviet Army command in Latvia, the missing shoe is nothing less than a major international crisis.

This film take us on an odd journey that is simultaneously subtly hilarious and deeply disturbing. The black-and-white camera work is so vivid, unusual, and imaginative that we are reminded at times of the stark imagery of Citizen Kane. Characters are regularly seen as silhouettes or shadows; they enter the screen from the left and exit, without any movement from the camera, only to re-enter from the right, repeating a pointless process. The symbolism of this technique quietly underlines not only the lunacy of 'faceless' bureaucracy/officialdom, but the futility of being human: we are always looking for something that isn't there; it's something we do throughout our lives. If we find that 'something,' we merely move on to the next 'something'.

There are no 'stars' in this film, no central characters except, perhaps, for the bumbling soldiers. The ludicrous action (non-action?) on screen is sometimes reminiscent of Jacques Tati or the Georgian director Otar Ioselliani (Monday Morning), who wonderfully demonstrates the pointlessness of human movement and purpose.

This is a deliciously off-kilter work.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Shoe (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?