Payback: Margaret Atwood and Jennifer Baichwal

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First aired on Q (20/01/12)

The documentary adaptation of Margaret's Atwood bestselling book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth will make its theatrical debut this weekend in Canada. The film, directed by award-winning director Jennifer Baichwal, is based on Atwood's collection of essays about the idea of debt and how it governs relationships and societies.

But it's not just an exploration of money: all manner of debts are examined at, from blood feuds to our debt to the environment. Atwood and Baichwal explained the concepts of the book and the movie to Q host Jian Ghomeshi during a special live taping of the show in Salt Lake City, Utah, back in January.

"It was this unbelievable, almost like a roller-coaster ride, through every possible idea of indebtedness, of what that symbiotic relationship of owing and being owed could mean," Baichwal said of reading Atwood's book for the first time.

The critically acclaimed author finds the topic of debt -- and all its incarnations -- fascinating. When asked whether we can be truly debt-free, she argues that one can owe nothing financially, but that we will always owe something to somebody.

"A lot of people have contributed to us, beginning with our parents. Somebody took care of you once upon a time, so you are in a position of indebtedness to all the people who have helped you," she explained." And if you're an artist or a writer of any kind, that includes all that people that may be dead that you have read. So you can't literally pay them back, you can't even literally say thank you to them, but you owe something to the karmic bank, as it were."