Europa Cinema / 18th May / 18:00

Money Puzzles movie projection

Michael Chanan, VB, 2016., 130'
Money Puzzles addresses the widespread misunderstandings about money and debt to be found in both the media and everyday life, not to mention university economics departments. It questions the illusory qualities of the myriad forms of money in the twenty-first century, along with the falsehoods and distortions of the economics on which austerity politics is based. It asks about the role of debt as a form of control and coercion at international, national and household levels, and what happens when debts become unpayable. It also reports on alternative approaches variously found in the social solidarity movements in countries like Greece and Spain, complementary currencies in the UK, the international campaign for citizens debt audits, and the need for universal principles for sovereign debt restructuring recognised by the UN General Assembly last year.
Money Puzzles is a counter-narrative to mainstream economic orthodoxy. It also dispenses with the conventions of the mainstream documentary – the all-knowing narrator, the balanced opinions – and turns to different voices: economics students in England frustrated with the inadequacy of what they’re being taught, solidarity volunteers in Greece, anti-eviction activists in Spain, advocates of citizens debt audits across Europe, critical economists like Costas Lapavitsas, Molly Scott-Cato, Johnna Mongomerie and Axel Kicillof.

Michael Chanan is a seasoned documentarist, writer and Professor of Film & Video at the University of Roehampton, London. His first films were documentaries on contemporary music for BBC Television in the early 1970s. After a stint teaching film at the then Polytechnic of Central London, he made a number of documentaries on Latin American subjects, mainly for Channel Four. He returned to teaching in the 90s, first in the film school at the then London College of Printing (1990-2000), then as Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of the West of England until moving to Roehampton in 2007. His books include studies of early cinema, Cuban cinema, the social history of music, the history of recording, and most recently, ‘The Politics of Documentary’. He writes extensively on Latin American film and video and other current topics. His films over the last fifteen years have mostly been academically funded, including ‘Detroit Ruin of a City’ (2005), ‘The American Who Electrified Russia’ (2008). In 2011 he became the New Statesman’s first video blogger, resulting in ‘Chronicle of Protest’ (2011). This was followed by ‘Secret City’ (2012) and ‘Interrupted Memory’ (2013). Many of his short writings and films can be found on his website and he blogs at Putney Debater.