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David Woolfson in Pawn Shop

For the down-and-out residents of Edmonton's grim and unforgiving inner city, the AI Trading pawnshop is the bank of the poor. And pawnbroker David Woolfson, a banker of last resort.

At the corner of a busy Edmonton intersection, the pawnshop does a brisk trade. A compulsive spender, Dorothy regularly pawns her jewellery and sewing machine for $500 credit. Addicted to crack, Davey trades his mother?s porcelain and never buys it back. An elderly woman exchanges her wedding ring for $60 to buy food. And an unemployed dad pawns his work tools to borrow cash to get by.

"Pawning is when people bring goods in to borrow money on them," Woolfson explains. "But some of them can't stay away. It's a way of life. An expensive way of life. Because paying the interest of a pawnshop is not cheap."

In these tough economic times, more and more people know what it?s like to wonder how to make ends meet. Called "an uncompromising and disturbing véritè masterpiece," by Hot Docs programmer Lynn Fernie, Broke. takes us into the drama of a world - at times darkly funny and surprising - of what it sometimes takes to survive.

View a printer friendly version of this page...Library Audience:
  • Young Adult
  • Adult
  • School Audience:
  • Grades 6 - 12
  • Subjects:
  • Society and Social Issues
  • Formats Available:
  • DVD