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Mortgaged Lives

film, 42 min, 2014

Related Project: Mortgaged Lives book translation


“Mortgaged Lives” examines the experience of rupture, through the loss of a home, within the Spanish eviction crisis. “Mortgaged Lives” analyses the psychosocial experience of eviction from three perspectives: psychological analysis, personal testimony and an actual event.

In July 2013 in Madrid, a small group of women travel on a metro towards a home on the other side of the city where they try to prevent the eviction of a young family. They are activists in the PAH, a right to housing movement in Spain, as well as being personally affected by the current eviction crisis happening throughout the country.

The film maps out the trauma of homelessness, social estrangement, and the fight against injustice by those who are suffering the consequences of the economic crisis within the global economy. Reflecting on their personal lives, the women on the metro connect their individual experiences of eviction to those of others, which happen daily throughout the city. A parallel analysis of these experiences unfolds within a series of group discussions. They are led by a team of psychologists who are studying the psychosocial impacts of eviction. “Mortgaged Lives” brings these stories to the foreground to gain a larger understanding of the economic crisis and its impact on individual lives.

Within the era of a global financial crisis, everyday reality is defined by destabilization, particularly felt around the home. In Spain, the onset of the financial crisis resulted in an increase in unemployment and surge in evictions of citizens who were able to pay their mortgages. In 2009, the PAH, a right to housing movement operating throughout Spain, was established to fill a gap in insufficient measures within government for dealing with the housing crisis and an unfair mortgage system and to make visible the abuses of power by the financial systems.

This film is an important document of the everyday realities of contemporary crisis on individual lives. It shows the growing needs and inspiring strategies for fighting injustice produced by a neo-liberal economy. What are the ways that we can understand and describe contemporary crisis? How can the transformation of societies be perceived?

With the participation of:

PAH Madrid
Psychosocial Impact Group of the Truth Commission
15-M Citizen’s Court of Justice
Manuela Cuello Rodriguez
Rosario Alcantara Torres
Gladys Cerna Dávila
Maria Dolores Ramos Chavero

Director: Michelle Teran
Camera: Michelle Teran, David Rych, Jessica Fuquay
Edit: David Rych
Post Production: David Rych
Audio Mastering: Malte Steiner
Translation: Marisa Petit

Film language: Spanish with English subtitles
Country of Filming: Spain
Country of Production: Canada, Norway, Germany

Produced with the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme.