small time obsession

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polish community

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Many of the locations hold special significance for writer/director Piotr Szkopiak. The wedding and bar scenes, for example, were shot at The Polish White Eagle Club in Balham, which has existed since the fifties and is very well known to London's Polish community. It is home to the largest Polish Catholic parish in South London and Piotr's family still regularly attends the Polish church opposite the club.

The restaurant, in which Jackie lives, is another well-known landmark among London's Poles. Situated in South Kensington, Daquise Café and Restaurant has occupied the site since the early forties and still retains a very typically Polish atmosphere to this day.
Korona Delicatessen, which is owned by Michael Korczynski's father in the film, can be found on Streatham High Street near Streatham Hill. One of the many Polish delicatessen to be found around London, this one in particular is, again, frequented regularly by Piotr's family.

Piotr's childhood was spent living on the borders of Herne Hill and North Dulwich and his parents belonged to the Polish parish of Brockley, Lewisham. There, as a little boy, he attended Polish Saturday school and, as a result, the majority of his friends lived around Catford and Forest Hill. It is not surprising then that both areas feature in the film.
"All the flats in the film are in Forest Hill," explains Piotr. "After the war, a lot of Poles bought large Victorian buildings like that so that they could rent rooms to help pay the bills. When I was small, my family lived in a similar house in North Dulwich."

He continues, "I remember Catford Stadium from when I was small as well. I didn't know anything about greyhound racing and only finally went to see the racing when I was writing the script. I really enjoyed it so when I needed the lead character (Michael) to have a life-long passion, I thought about making it greyhound racing."
Other backdrops to the film include the Woolwich Ferry, which is another of the many aspects of London that made an impression on Piotr when he was young and have remained with him to this day. "There were a lot of shots of London that I wanted to use but couldn't so I put a lot of them in the opening credits," he adds.

Finally, the old Hartley's Jam Factory off Tower Bridge Road features heavily in the film and has consistently featured in Piotr's various projects since his first experiments with a friend's video recorder.

Piotr concludes, "I wanted to shoot the London I know and knew as a little boy. I love London because it's so diverse. I've lived here all my life and there are still loads of places I haven't seen and even in the places I know, I keep coming across things I hadn't noticed before."

"However, in saying that, there are Polish communities all over the UK, and I therefore deliberately used locations that could be part of any urban landscape anywhere in the country".

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