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".