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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolás Buenaventura
Manuel José Álvarez ...
Domingo, the butcher and barber
Vicky Hernández
Jairo Camargo
Humberto Dorado
Marcela Valencia ...
Carlota Alfaro, the commissary's wife
Alejandra Borrero ...
Eugenia Alfaro, Carlota's sister and spinster
Helios Fernández ...
Sigilfredo Rosero, the landlord
Constanza Duque ...
Aminta Rosero, the landlord's wife
Diego León Hoyos
Carolina Trujillo
Álvaro Bayona
Manuel Busquets ...
Talento Piedrahita, the notary
Vladimir Cruz ...
Hildebrando Cardona, the groom
Victoria Góngora ...
Alina, the sacristan and priest's daughter


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Release Date:

14 August 1997 (Colombia)  »

Also Known As:

The Debt  »

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the power of magic realism: a strange adventure and a magnificent farce
4 August 2001 | by (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

The fabulous and colorful cinematography (Juan Cristobal Cobo) is the most outstanding about this fairy-tale about illusions in the form of magic realism. Almost expressionist angles, shadows and colors make it a banquet for the eye. La Deuda does need music to make up for the scarce plot flaws and shaky acting, but that score (Luis Bacalov) is great. If music can be ironic and humorous, that's what it is here. The whole comes across as a comedy, but actually it is a farce (or several farces interwoven) in which a usurer dies and people are relieved from their debt, until the usurer seems to come back. Or is it only the debtors' superstition that raises him from death? Anyway, children and fools seem to tell the truth in this story: adults make up their own truth. People try to wash their hands in innocence, but if everybody has a debt to someone then there is still one guy who holds the IOU's. Wasn't that also a story-element in Fight Club, where credit-card company buildings had to be blown up to clear everybody's liabilities? So if that last character disappeared, then everybody else would be relieved of their liabilities. But then nobody would be innocent.

Everybody in this story tries to cover their own hypocrisy and tries to liquidate their debt. What kind of debt they have is to be seen. This kind of fairy-tale (farce) could only occur in a small community without disturbing factors from outside who can provide solutions. They have to solve their problems and cope with their conscience, superstition and greed. Or it is just a religious allegory about sin and remission ... neh.


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