What is Democracy?
Directed by Astra Taylor
“It serves as a sharp reminder to pay attention to politics and to remember that the personal and the local are political.” —Charlie Phillips, The Guardian
Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, What Is Democracy? reflects on a word we often take for granted. Director Astra Taylor’s idiosyncratic, philosophical journey spans millennia and continents: from ancient Athens’ groundbreaking experiment in self-government to capitalism’s roots in medieval Italy; from modern-day Greece grappling with financial collapse and a mounting refugee crisis to the United States reckoning with its racist past and the growing gap between the rich and poor.
Featuring a diverse cast—including celebrated theorists, trauma surgeons, activists, factory workers, asylum seekers, and former prime ministers—this urgent film connects the past and the present, the emotional and the intellectual, and the personal and the political, in order to provoke and inspire. If we want to live in democracy, we must first ask what the word even means. With Angela Davis, Silvia Federici, and Cornel West. 2017, U.S./Canada, DCP, 107 minutes. Recommended for 16+.
*With a post-screening discussion organized Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. Moderating the discussion will be KFTC’s Vice-Chair Cassia Heron, a leader in the local food movement, community organizer and social justice warrior. She will be joined by:
- Aja Barber, a community health administrator and leader of the Center for Health Equity’s new participatory budgeting initiative, Our Money Our Voice.
- Representative Josie Raymond, a newly elected Kentucky legislator for House District 31 and Student Success Coach at the University of Louisville.
- Austin Norrid, a local high school music teacher and member of Jefferson County Chapter of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth’s democracy and racial justice teams.
- Jenny Bencomo Suarez is a Cuban American community organizer, an unapologetically radical feminist, and leftist. Her focuses are immigration rights, reproductive rights, and Latinx issues. Jenny currently studies Latin American studies with a minor in Middle Eastern/Islamic studies.
**Followed by a post-screening discussion by Dr. John Gibson, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Commonwealth Center for Humanities and Society, University of Louisville, and Dr. Michael Brandon McCormack, Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Pan-African Studies, University of Louisville.