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Has money distracted us from what is important? Sinema discovers3 min read

6 May 2011 4 min read


Has money distracted us from what is important? Sinema discovers3 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes


“I had everything I needed, I had a house and I had raised two children. I gave it all away”.

Living Without Money is a documentary about Heidemarie Schwermer, whom 14 years ago, decided to give away everything she had to live life without money. The documentary follows her day-to-day life to experience how she goes about to find food, transport and a place to stay.

The lovely Heidemarie Schwermer deliberately gave away everything she had, and survived only by exchanging favours in lieu of money.

So in the same way, Sinema Old School decided for one night, to survive only by exchanging favours and screened the documentary last Saturday for free. Instead of charging money for the tickets, Sinema encouraged people to bring in anything that maybe of value to exchange for the tickets.

After just a few days from opening the event to the public, the theatre was fully booked. The response was so overwhelming that we decided to open up another screening on the same day, at a later timing. And guess what? In a few days it was fully booked as well!

In all honesty, Sinema did not expect such a big response from the public and it was a really pleasant surprise. And yet, this was not the end. Surprise managed to come around and hit us again, this time even harder.

Pleasant surprise number two took its time to shock us, when people started coming in with really amazing gifts to exchange for the tickets.

From books, to chocolates, to pens, and even an electric fan, there were just so many different things. Everything was so random but yet amazing. Chocolates came in bags, cup noodles came in boxes, pens came in containers, even bags came in bigger bags. We really had not expected such generosity, especially since it was not even compulsory for people to bring something to exchange for tickets.

Even though the entire event was tiring and the absence of the use of money made things a lot more inconvenient, Sinema has realized just how much we got to learn from dear Heidemarie Schwermer.

In the film she had told us “Money distracts us from whats important. The way things are today, it just doesn’t work”. A strange statement to make really. With the way things are today, isn’t money the only way to survive?

But this one night when Sinema decided to live without money and give tickets away for free, you could say our eyes were opened.

Even though it meant inconvenience to not only us but to all those coming for the screening, even though it meant that we would be making a loss, there was a deep sense of satisfaction in us.

The labour that Sinema staff had to go through to manage events like these, had always been for the sake of money, for profit purposes. But last Saturday when money was out of the equation, the labour we went through was no longer for profit, but for everyone who came. We did not work to make profits, we were working to ensure that the people who brought us gifts were happy.

The act of exchanging favours made it feel as if whatever we do, we do it for a greater purpose, and the sense of satisfaction we got out of it was so much more profound.

Maybe money really has distracted us from what’s important?

The event has enabled us, and everyone who came, to not only watch the documentary but to participate in the movement as well. This is what Sinema has learnt from dear Heidemarie Schwermer.

We would love to hear from you as well! What do you feel about the event? Did you learn anything? Feedbacks? Please comment on the article! (:

Click if you want to find out more about the film Living Without Money or about Heidemarie Schwermer

One Comment
  1. wecantalk

    I think money is of great value nowadays. please read more here:

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