Journalist and moviemaker Miguel Parra opens one of the most painful wounds suffered by those in debt, the telephonic harassment they endure from businesses calling about unpaid bills, in his first fictional short film "Sin Respuesta" (No Answer), starring Natalia Mateo.
"I wrote the screenplay because a friend of mine, who hadn't paid one of the last installments of a very small personal loan, began to get telephone calls from a woman who badgered him with such cruel remarks that I asked myself, what must life be like for people who get behind on much bigger mortgage or loan payments," the 46-year-old Spanish filmmaker told Efe.
The journalist launched an investigation that he turned into a film story condensed into little more than 10 minutes, but in which every second is absolutely essential.
Shot in a claustrophobic cubicle where a telephonic bill collector goes after debtors, and with the face of actress Natalia Mateo the only video content, the short tells several stories about the people in arrears she is hounding, and whose only presence is their voices.
The film is all about "the perversion of the system," Parra said. "The same telephonic bill collector will earn very little, but this is her job - these are the times we live in. I think we have to ask ourselves what on earth we're doing, what kind of world are we leaving our children," he said.
With the most expressive words and images, Parra manages to make the viewer feel the same anguish as is suffered by those receiving the dunning phone calls.
The short has been honored with awards at the ABC Ibero-American Short Film Festival (Fibabc) and the Aguilar de Campoo Short Film Festival, and has just been nominated for France's Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, considered the world's most prestigious in the category. EFE