The documentary captures Margaret Atwood’s wit, humor, wryness and seriousness. One great device in the film is the interspersed clips of her in her element, writing, reading, and editing a speech on the nature of indebtedness. Her precise, clipped voice-overs unite the disparate stories; more important, it made for a delicious experience to watch Atwood, hear Atwood, and to be, shall we say, living in an Atwood text. Is it meta-Atwood? Atwood in 3D? The subject matter, moreover, is arguably ‘very Atwood.’ The essential nature of debt, and its similarity to language as a social construct, is a timely question. Debt, in all its forms, especially the non-financial, is a wonderful contemporary framework through which to view seemingly intractable issues such as blood revenges, environmental destruction, and social justice.
Payback is an official entry in the World Documentary category.
Payback. Dir. Jennifer Baichwal. Zeitgeist Films, 2011.