An uplifting journey into the underbelly of inner-suburban Melbourne.
In a dusty old pawnbroker's in the heart of Footscray, world-weary owner Les watches as the lives of the people who come through his doors collide, change and unravel. From incipient love affairs to desperate last gambles to those simply worn down by all the world has thrown at them, these individuals and their stories represent the best and the worst of Melbourne's most hopeful and giddily mixed-up suburb.
Transporting Wayne Wang's seminal Smoke into the heart of Melbourne's inner-west, Pawno is the ambitious and breezily watchable feature film debut from actor-turned-director Paul Ireland (who appeared in Tim Winton's The Turning segment Cockleshell, MIFF 2013).
Combining elements of thriller, romance and gangster genres this quirky, off-kilter character study features an eclectic ensemble including Kerry Armstrong (Lantana, MIFF 2001) and John Brumpton (Fell, MIFF 2014), and crackles with inventiveness and irreverence in equal measure. It's a warm-hearted and witty cinematic narrative that is totally, unapologetically Melbourne.
Paul Ireland and screenwriter Damian Hill are festival guests.