Alcarràs received the Golden Bear at Berlinale and the Catalan director managed to keep everything that made her debut so exciting. The story of the light and shadows of everyday life of farmers from the titular village offers an autobiographical sincerity, warmth and a discreet sense of humor.
The postcard scenery of the Alpine province serves as a contrast to the hardships of life for characters thrown upon the whims of nature and shenanigans of perverse fate. All these inconveniences most powerfully befall Anna, a local waitress, who gets involved with Mark, a slightly older man. Mark, as an outsider, not very handsome, and easily excitable, is distrusted by the local community. However, the more facts testify to his disadvantage, the more eagerly Anna advocates for him, knowing that she is also fighting for the right to life her way.
With the help of three employees, they run what is probably the largest pawnshop in Europe. However, its glory days passed once the local mines closed and unemployment began to rise. Left destitute, the inhabitants of the Polish Detroit bring zillions of absurd and useless objects to pawn for cash. Neither Wiesiek’s ridiculous marketing ideas, nor the good heart of Jola, who offers kind words, hot soup and a warm coat to her impoverished customers, will save the crumbling business. Even though the pawnshop loses money, it becomes an important centre of social life for the local community.