Uncovering debt

Documentary>> Debt Crisis • Greece

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

One might not expect every butcher in rural Greece to recognise Costas Lapavitsas.

He is, after all, an economist, a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. His research interests include the evolution and function of the Japanese financial system—probably not staples of discussion among Greek butchers. But when recently Lapavitsas went shopping in his native village, Kopanos, a butcher who had never seen him before expressed familiarity.

image“I have seen you in a video on the net.” Lapavitsas has a star turn in Debtocracy, a documentary about the financial crisis that Greece is reeling under. Made in US $14,000, it has earned close to a million views on YouTube and has been broadcast on small Greek TV channels. “At first, it was young Greeks with broadband connections,” says co-director Aris Chatzistefanou. “But then we heard stories of how small villages were screening it.”

The film has become an artefact in the popular resistance to the austerity package imposed on Greece by the International Monetary Fund, and across southern Europe. In Portugal, the Left Bloc put on a showing of Debtocracy in a cinema to launch its recent election campaign.

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