25 Million Pounds(Economics)

Winner of "Best Science and Nature Documentary" at the 1998 San Francisco International Film Festival, "25 Million Pounds" tells the story of how a single man, trader Nick Leeson, brought about the collapse one of Britain's most prestigious merchant banks.

How £827 can simply go missing in the accounts is the a central question raised by film maker Adam Curtis. The answer unfortunately, is abundantly clear in what seems a glaring prelude to the greed, mismanagement and fiscal hubris which, only a decade later, would bring about a world economic recession.

"On the 24th of January, [Barings] went over their overdraft limit with CitiBank, and a meeting was called to discuss Leeson. Worries were expressed about the size of his positions, but the bank's executives agreed amongst themselves that Leeson was doing 'rather well'... In retrospect", says Peter Baring, a bank executive at the time, "One has to say that everything discussed at that meeting was... 'absolutely mad, and we were living in a world through the looking glass'".

The haughty, nonchalant, and self-assured pretense of Peter Baring is a dark and frightening reminder of the class divisions which separate the banking elite from those of us who rely on them to manage the world's economy.

Told with a sometimes humorous, if not subtly provocative blend of stock footage and candid interviews, this film reminds us of the need for due diligence among our global financial markets. Be warned, however: watching this will not fill you with confidence if you are somehow seeking assurance that our fiscal futures are secure.

added by: bill