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+.