Holocaust Memorial Day: The Pawnbroker

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BBFC RatingHolocaust Memorial Day: The Pawnbroker

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Director(s)Sidney Lumet
Writer(s)Morton S. Fine, David Friedkin
LanguageEnglish, Spanish, German
Running Time1HR 55MINS
SeasonMain Programme

One of the greatest character studies committed to film, Sidney Lumet’s (12 Angry Men) deeply human story of a Jewish pawnbroker who loses all faith in his fellow man screens as part of Holocaust Memorial Day.

Sol Nazerman (Rod Steiger) is an Auschwitz survivor now living in East Harlem, New York and working as a pawnbroker for a local pimp who uses the shop as a money-laundering operation. Haunted by the memories of his past, Sol is a shell of his former self, showing little sympathy to his lonely customers and finding misery in his relationships with his current wife and the assistant who idolises him. With Sol’s relationships deteriorating and the criminality surrounding his shop increasing, he must reckon with his psychological trauma.

Startlingly shot in black and white with an atmospheric jazz tapestry score from Quincy Jones, The Pawnbroker is dark and haunting and one of the first American films to deal with the legacy of the Holocaust.

Holocaust Memorial Day is the international day on 27 January to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution of other groups and in genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. For more information see www.hmd.org.uk

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