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WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?

Astra Taylor · Canada · 2018 · 107 mins · Not Rated
IMDbRotten Tomatoes

Starting in Greece, where the philosophical concept of liberal democracy first flourished, roughly 2,500 years ago, this incisive documentary unravels an inquiry that’s actually a lot more complicated than it sounds. “It’s a question that almost defeats the purpose of asking it,” posits one young woman interviewed by Canadian filmmaker Astra Taylor, who talks to academics, activists, historians, politicians, immigrants, and ordinary citizens in places as varied as Florida and Italy.

The movie is structured around quotations from Plato, and these are elaborated upon by folks like professor Cornel West. Most of the interview subjects ponder the taming of the “unruly passions” endemic to democracy, since they always allow for the possibility of fascism. West, again, quotes Dostoyevsky as saying that many people gravitate toward authoritarianism “because they are afraid to authorize themselves”. --Georgia Straight

A HUGELY AMBITIOUS DOCUMENTARY.

--New York Times

"If we want to live in democracy, we must first ask what the word even means." NFB
"A true essay film, in the classic sense of the word’s meaning: an attempt to figure shit out. If ever shit needed figuring out, it is now." The Tyee
Cast Wendy Brown, Silvia Federici, George A. Papandreou
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