6 user

The Debt (1993)

Unrated | | Short, Drama | 25 March 1994 (Portugal)
A yuppie pair slides into crisis due to catastrophes which are reported to them via telephone. A salesman appears at their door ...


Bruno de Almeida


Steven Ausbury
8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Scott Renderer Scott Renderer ... Bill Kosnick
Kristen Johnston ... Alice Kosnick
Paul Lazar ... The Salesman
Stephen Auditore Stephen Auditore ... The Landlord (voice)
Dave Shelley Dave Shelley ... Man from Collection Agency (voice)
Marianne Weems Marianne Weems ... Female Boss (voice)
Kate Valk Kate Valk ... French Lover (voice)
Jed Cooper Jed Cooper ... Insurance Salesman (voice)
Tracy Barnett Tracy Barnett ... New York Telephone Operator (voice)


In the midst of the current recession, a series of disastrous telephone messages triggers a major domestic crisis fro the Kosnicks, a yuppie couple at the end of their rope. In the height of their despair, a door-to-door salesman tries to sell them a book about positive thinking, but for the Kosnicks it may be too late... Written by <arcofilms@worldnet.att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Time is money...and this yuppie couple just ran out of both.


Short | Drama


Unrated | See all certifications »



Portugal | USA



Release Date:

25 March 1994 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

A Dívida See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Arco Films, Hora Magica See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The National Debt Clock was located on 6th Avenue, a block from Times Square in New York City, since February 20, 1989. Since the film was made, the clock was discontinued (2000-2002, and briefly in 2008), moved to three other locations, and changed it's technology and shape. See more »

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User Reviews

A funny drama à la Hitchcock - of extreme actuality in 2010
16 November 2010 | by Artemis-9See all my reviews

This is an excellent short that shows the writer's attentiveness to the social and political problem represented by the mounting US public death - counted by the marquee-sized debt clock in Times Square, NYC - and how «your family share» is affected, after being itself part of the cause of the problem.

One bleak Friday, a couple arrives home from home and listen to the voice-recorded unattended telephone calls from a number of people: the credit card company, the bank, the husband's office, the husband's lover, the wife's life insurance company... Each is disturbing enough in itself, but heard in a crescendo to the unexpected - and extremely revealing ones - it makes something only comparable to the best of the short, crispy, made-for-TV Alfred Hitchcock episodes.

À la Hitchcock, the story ups to a grim finale, with crisp editing, up to 2-frames-per-cut. The lab's experienced editing assistants didn't believe it could be done - as told November 15, 2010, at the film's show at the Portuguese Cinematech by the Director, Bruno de Almeida. He imposed that daring-do in editing. He won! The 35mm film didn't disintegrate, and the result is terrific! Again, as in the best thrillers, the eye-to-eye, revolver-to-revolver confrontation by the not-so-loving husband and wife, will not end in that grim finale.

As in real life, a book-peddler appears at their door, proposing them to buy (to buy - to buy - the cause of their overburdening debt) just one more book, that will save their lives, and assure them a bright future. Yes, they can! For a moment, their grim faces change. Unfortunately, as for the US, the reasons to believe in a bright future are short-lived - as are the three lives in this short.

With three false finales, and almost no words from the principals whose facial and body expressions are exaggerated as if this was an old Harold Lloyd's comic, we are fully served.

Because the Director's was living in NYC then, and possibly in love with that city where he chose to carve a career away from The System, he chose to film some plans of the 6th Avenue, with the debt clock, and the Twin Towers in the distance amidst the other engulfing sky-scrapers.

Thus, it also makes this short of extreme actuality in 2010. First, since the 9/11 the Twin Towers are no more part of NY's skyline. Second, the debt clock has been moved to another location, and modified since it came to a halt due to failure in keeping with the over US$10 trillion number in 2008, and the new clock is more performing, but less impressive than the first clock was. Third, «your family share» of the (seemingly) unstoppable Debt is still mounting.

Amidst tales of «sex, lies, and mounting debt», at individual, and global scale. So much in 12 minutes. The nine prizes the film got already are OK, but it should be brought to wider audiences, in theaters and television.

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