Helikopterek in “Polish Detroit”. The history of perhaps the largest pawnshop in Europe

  • There is a pawn shop in Bytom where you can find everything – “from a needle to a helicopter”. It’s a place that only the people of this city know
  • Unique pawn shop attracted ukasz Kowalski, who made a documentary about the pawn shop
  • The main characters are the original owners of the company, Jola and Wiesław and their employees. We learn about their extraordinary private and professional lives
  • Lombard had already kicked off the festival and world premiere at the CPH:DOX Documentary Film Festival in Copenhagen. The film won the Grand Prix of the 19th Millennium Anti-Gravity Documentation Festival
  • You can find more of these stories on the Onet homepage

Among the objects collected are a couple of brides. Jula and Vaisek are businessmen approaching their 60s. Like a colorful bird, the local Violetta spreads claws, wears white mink fur, is well groomed, attentive, tenacious, guarding the workplace. He’s like Ridge from Modi Na Najah, he has crazy ideas, he’s taking every burden on his shoulders, and that’s a lot in their interest, because there’s still no cash. Almost every day has a very abstract new idea for a marketing campaign that can boost sales. Both have to play strategically, struggle with problems, and the greatest of all is the prose of life.

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At Bytom, everyone knows them by operating probably the largest pawnshop in Europe. They call it the “helicopter” from the first seat in the Mujahideen. Wroclaw, where they announced under the slogan “From a needle to a helicopter.” After crossing the threshold of this characteristic, we will find everything there. From household appliances, through kettles, furs, shoes, wall units, sleds, wheelchairs, samurai swords, deer antlers, all in hundreds of items: 300 irons, 700 leather jackets, 1100 furs, 3 thousand. About 40 thousand books of various items are made of glass and porcelain. It looks like a landfill or clutter apartment from the People’s Republic of Poland.

After visiting the pawn shop, the director thought of “Cinnamon Shops” by Bruno Schultz. All the strangest goods from the Mujahideen. Alligators are in one place. There was a lot of dust and feelings about the past, because the heyday of the pawn shop passed with the closure of neighboring mines and the spread of unemployment in the city. The population was deprived of livelihood, doing more and more ridiculous things. In addition to trading, you can also eat sausage there and pat your back if everyday life is difficult and your drunken husband has taken his toll.

“Lombard” frame from the movie – press materials

The Lombard documentary is a months-long recording of the lives of the two unusual owners and three pawnshop employees looking like siblings to one another. On the one hand, we have the relationship between Jola and Wiesław, which is like the life of a dog with a cat. They often express their frustration with the crisis in the company and relationship. On the other hand, it is a story about a thousand things and the inhabitants of the post-industrial area of ​​Bytom. Looking at all of this makes us believe in the sincerity and power of transmitting local history.

Lombard is a funny black documentary comedy and has moments of real anxiety, because in the midst of struggles, every needy will get a bowl of soup here. This is unusual, because the mortgaged place is rather related to usury. A place where people who don’t always trade fairly come in. Here it is not only a market place, but also a kind of meeting center, support center. Unfortunately, the business’s bankruptcy hangs in the balance, so there will be a nervous atmosphere until Jola and Wiesiek come up with an idea on how to save the company. Faced with impending disaster, the angel will make one last attempt to save work and love.

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Don’t worry, Mr. Wiesław, he falls to his feet every time. Their work continues. Lombard moved from the suburbs of Bytom, where the movie was filmed, to downtown and is now housed in the former Supersam. That’s why “Lombard” is above all a movie about hope for a better tomorrow, even if we find ourselves in a closet of curiosity, as absurdly surreal as Marek Kotersky’s Waco Day. Łukasz Kowalski’s documentary is one of those films that make people realize that life always writes the best scenarios.

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