A successful movie. A penetrating gaze

La Repubblica

PAWNSHOP

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY IRENE DIONISIO

SYNOPSIS

In Torino, a bittersweet crowd is bringing its own belongings to a pawn shop, waiting for a ransom or the final auction. Between the thousands of faces that tell the human inventory of the crisis, three stories intertwine unconsciously in the thin line of moral debt. Sandra, a young trans, in order to escape her past sells her fur coat. Her gaze will cross Stefano’s, a novice who just started working at the bank, and who drags her towards a tender obsession. Michele, a retired porter, asks for a loan to a family member, who will turn out to be fatally the wrong person to ask a favour from.

Directed by

IRENE DIONISIO

Written by

IRENE DIONISIO

Production

TEMPESTA/CARLO CRESTO-DINA

With

RAI CINEMA

In co-production with

AMKA FILMS PRODUCTIONS AND AD VITAM

Year of production

2016

World Premiere

VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM CRITICS' WEEK

Director of photography

CAROLINE CHAMPETIER

Run time

85'

DIRECTOR'S NOTES

At first because of my social and familiar background, then because of my studies, and finally for business reasons, I always wondered, how and in what ways financial problems that afflict us on a daily base, can change us? How is it possible that we got entangled in a network that we ourselves have molded – the so-called “device” theorized by G. Agamben. What drives us to work fourteen hours a day in order not to own anything except the simple right to exist? And what drives those who could change things to continue in their usual direction, without asking themselves any questions? How much is debt above all a moral debt, a crime? Many questions and few answers, so far. But many stories to observe around us, from which to draw some ideas, food for thought, or the simple observation of our life choices. And from what point of view are these events to be observed in the best possible way, in their complex individuality and at the same time universality? They are to be observed in places where one can inconspicuously watch mechanisms, procedures, existences. In Turin, I came across the pawnshop and its fullness of meaning and of life. Through my research, I intend to narrate the place as a metaphor – teeming up with lived lives, faces, stories – of a society based on the clash, both new and momentous, between debtor and creditor. The human being in this place seems to be stripped of his or her natural appearance, annihilated and rendered fragile, small, helpless, in the face of a powerful network, well organized, nameless and without the possibility of being questioned. The pawnshop looks like a sort of aquarium in which small fishes are gasping in a container of which they do not know the boundaries, the features, the consistency. Through talks, dialogues, relations with objects, and individual stories, I will create a tragic fresco, but at the same time playful, almost comical in its fragile tenderness, which will narrate of a humanity faced with debt. I will narrate the daily confrontation between an evaluator, last link in the chain of a banking system, and a consumer, either known or unknown. The confrontation at the pawnshop desk between the evaluator – responsible for listening to consumers and for evaluating the objects brought in to be pawned – and the consumer himself – bearer of an individual and unique story – has a strong disturbing element, both on a narrative level, and on a philosophical and emotional one. In this environment crisscrossed with relations of such force, I feel that many of the questions that I try to answer turn into stories to tell. Stories to reenact in their smallest details, in their fleeting existences, in their seemingly useless developments, and finally in their powerful imagery, which let us lay our eyes on what man has become in front of the debit system.

BIO

Irene Dionisio was born in 1986. She graduated in Aesthetical and Social Philosophy at the University of Torino, and did a Master degree in Documentary filmmaking directed by Daniele Segre and Marco Bellocchio, as well as a Master at IED directed by Alina Marazzi. Through the association Fluxlab, of which she is a founding member, she curates cultural and artistic projects about issues such as integration, cultural policies and gender issues. Her artistic production includes video installations and documentaries, such as Sponde. Nel sicuro sole del nord (2015), La fabbrica è pienaTragicommedia in otto atti (2011). Le ultime cose is her first feature film.

CAST

Stefano FABRIZIO FALCO
Michele ALFONSO SANTAGATA
Sandra CHRISTINA ROSAMILIA
Sergio ROBERTO DE FRANCESCO
Rosa MARIA EUGENIA D’AQUINO
Angelo SALVATORE CANTALUPO
Woman at the Pawnshop ANNA FERRUZZO

Crew

cinematography Caroline Champetier
editing Aline Hervé
first assistant director Giuseppe Bonito
Music Matteo Marini, Gabriele Concas, Peter Anthony Truffa
Sound François Musy, Marc Thill
Art Direction Giorgio Barullo
Costumes Silvia Nebiolo
Make-up Ronald Haldimann
Hairstylist Laura Pellicciotta
Line producer Giorgio Gasparini

Production Carlo Cresto-Dina (Tempesta) with Rai Cinema
Co-production Tiziana Soudani (Amka Films Productions), Alexandra Henochsberg, Grégory Gajos, Arthur Hallereau (Ad Vitam Production), RSI Radiotelevisione Svizzera
with the support of the Federal Office of Culture Switzerland (DFI)
in collaboration with Istituto Luce – Cinecittà
film with the recognition of cultural interest and the support of Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo – Direzione Generale Cinema
with the support of Film Commission Torino Piemonte

INTERNATIONAL SALES

International sales: Alma Cinema

Festival

Venice International Film Critics Week

Bergen IFF

Moscow IFF

Contemporay Art Center

Durban IFF

Seattle IFF