Directed by: Vangelis Papadiochos
Starring: Zoe Theodoropoulou, George Katsampas and Alexander Anastasiadis
Short Film Review by: Annie Vincent
The old adage that ‘money makes the world go round’ is a pertinent idea in Vangelis Papadiochos short film, The Debt. Examining characters in compromising situations, this film seeks to explore those monetary motivations which are far from the ambition and greed of city bankers and are far more worthy of our sympathies. But whilst audiences may not chastise the motivations of these characters, they may well question the risks they are willing to take for their end goals.
The film opens awkwardly for the audience as they take a glimpse into the life of a call girl, desperate to leave her bank manager client, who is twice her age and on the phone to his wife while paying her. Poignantly, her father texts to ask if she would like collecting from her party: a tragic reminder that every call girl is someone’s daughter. In the next scene, a card game is taking place and our call girl’s motivations for the life she reluctantly leads is exposed. The same pimp who takes most of her money is seen in the next sequence, paying a police officer, off-duty, who also seems reluctant to receive the money the pimp is paying him. Again, in the next scene, his motivations are made clear too, and so runs this eight-minute film, introducing us to characters caught up in illicit deals or debts, but who have such weighty reasons for doing so, we cannot blame them ... well, not all of them anyway.
The shooting and editing in The Debt are professional, with the odd misjudgement on lighting and some inaccuracies in the subtitles, but these do not detract from the viewing experience. But the storytelling and scripting is this film’s calling card, with all ends neatly tied up and a satisfying cyclicality produced. What comes shining through for viewers is the realisation that money and the pursuit of it is ultimately toxic: it is both a means and an end, its acquisition often coming with a price we wish didn’t have to be paid.