Directed by Astra Taylor
2018, Canada, 107 min
Saturday, November 3 / 3 pm | Cinematheque
Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, What Is Democracy? reflects on a word we too often take for granted. 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 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, the personal and the political, in order to provoke and inspire. If we want to live in democracy, we must first ask ourselves what the word even means.
“…a deliberate challenge to complacency – and, as a result, it’s a great watch.” – Charlie Phillips, The Guardian