Pinoy Indie Sundays: Life is not Pawn-y

Review: Sanglaan (The Pawnshop)

I Googled this movie after watching it and found out that it just won another European Filmfest Award – Jury award in Paris, France. I must say, it was well deserved.

The Story:

The movie centers on one setting, the pawnshop and the residences above it. Tessie Tomas is Tita Olivia, owner of an independent pawnshop and the apartment above it. She only has two employees, Amy (Ina Feleo), the appraiser and Kanor (Jess Evardone) the guard.

Olivia is a strict disciplinarian but she cares for Amy, who when her parents died, treated Olivia like her real aunt. They live together above the Pawnshop and the guard with his wife lives on the other side of the apartment.

Amy is a pretty but socially inept wallflower who was being courted by the neighborhood loan shark, Henry (Neil Rryan Sese). She rebuffs him and preferred a newcomer, David (Joem Bascon), a seaman waiting for a job opportunity.

David rents the extra room meant for Kanor’s son who early on, we find out gets killed in a military mission.

Olivia is offered a chance to live in the US but she’s reluctant to leave the business she shared with her husband who passed away. Amy keep pining her hopes that David would love her more than just friends. Kanor is desperately trying to keep his wife from falling apart after the death of their son.

Everybody has something to lose and they pawn their treasures in hopes that they keep safe what is most important.


I’ve never had to pawn anything in my life although in the Philippines, it’s a very common thing. In our town alone, I can’t count the number of pawnshops scattered around.

I count myself lucky that I never had to give up a treasured possession to get a few bucks to continue to survive. I couldn’t imagine having to give up something as sentimental as the ring your mother gave you, as she lay dying, to give to the woman who was going to be your wife. Or the TV your dead son provided before he got killed.

I like that the movie was not over dramatic. The story is quite believable and the acting, impeccable.

Although some critics might think that the story is very slow-paced, I didn’t get bored at all by the simplicity of the story. I liked that it didn’t delve too deep with other subplots.

There were unexpected moments; the confrontational scenes were not cliche at all. There are few things not to like about it: the slow mo, fast forward scenes, I think were necessary. Also, the wailing scenes (both mother and Olivia) could probably be better. But these were minor compared to the over all feel of the movie.

Milo Sogueco’s first film is deserving of all the accolades it garnered. I really wish that Pinoys would appreciate his work as much as foreigners do.
4 out of 5 reels

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