Jola and Wiesiek, a couple of extraordinary entrepreneurs, run the biggest pawnshop in the south of Poland. Profitable in the past, today the business only generates loses. Financial troubles affect their relationship. The problems have several causes. Residents of the neighbourhood in which the pawnshop operates more and more often pawn worthless objects to make their ends meet. Wiesiek’s irrational marketing initiatives and the good heart of Jola who financially supports poor clients are not conducive to improving the situation either.
Welcome to the biggest pawnshop in Poland. There are used leather jackets everywhere, old DVDs, shelves stacked with religious trinkets and kitchen appliances that are reportedly still working. Reportedly, as one angry customer actually calls in to complain, starting what must surely be the single longest conversation about a blender, ever.
There are also souvenirs brought in day after day by former miners, now struggling to find their place. Their region, Silesia, used to be known for its coal. But it started to transform way, way back, leaving them all behind, unable to catch up. It would be interesting to know if the director of The Pawnshop, Łukasz Kowalski, also has Silesian roots. Also because his take on this world, still with one foot in the past, is tender yet brutally honest.
It’s the kind of tragicomic gaze that makes this film – world-premiering at CPH:DOX – such a pleasure to watch, and the fact that the titular pawnshop is located on Perseverance Street really does say it all.
Marta Bałaga, Cineuropa
The film’s director Łukasz Kowalski and producer Ania Mazerant are present in the screening on Fri, Feb 3.