As we know the global financial crisis began in July 2007 with the credit crunch, when a loss of confidence by US investors in the value of sub-prime mortgages caused a liquidity crisis. Before the financial crisis, one in eight Americans were poor, a very high level for an otherwise affluent society. The financial crises pushed an additional 7.5 to 10 million people into poverty.
So the 2009 film Broke. had no issue with timing. This beautiful, gritty film Set in a pawnshop, the cinema verite masterpiece tells the story of the unlikely friendship between a cynic pawnbroker and his sweet but psychopathic assistant. Broke. won the prestigious Donald Brittain Award and was the best social-political documentary of 2010.
Broke. is a complex, powerful account of the day to day life in a pawnshop. The documentary gives us an intimate glimpse into a world most of us luckily do not have to know. Although often as funny and surprising as a sitcom, it bluntly points to the hardships and desperations of the marginalized. As the pawnbroker states: “You don’t see it in your rarefied living conditions, you don’t see how the poor people live, unless you come here.