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86 minutes
Canadian documentary maker Jennifer Baichwal (Manufactured Landscapes, Act of God) doesn't tell stories or advance arguments so much as meditate on ideas, which makes her well-suited to "adapt" an acclaimed series of lectures delivered by novelist Margaret Atwood in 2008. The talks, later published as Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, consider various aspects of human civilization in terms of debt: theology, environmental devastation, capital punishment, and so on. Baichwal responds by devoting sections to migrant laborers in Florida, Albanian blood feuds, the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill, the U.S. prison system, and Atwood herself. The movie quickly spreads itself thin (it often feels like a digest of a much longer work), but it's thought-provoking and cleverly organized. In English and subtitled Spanish and Albanian.

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