What is Democracy?

Directed by Astra Taylor

Year: 2018
Running Time: 107
Color Type: color
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Country: U.S.
Language: English
Genres: Documentary
Shop Home Video

What is Democracy?

Cast
Wendy Brown
Silvia Federici
George A. Papandreou

Crew
Directed by Astra Taylor


Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, What Is Democracy? reflects on a word we too 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 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 what the word even means.

 

THE BOOK: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250179845

In this engaging and thought-provoking companion to her acclaimed documentary “What Is Democracy?”, filmmaker and author Astra Taylor offers an engaging introduction to foundational concepts in politics and philosophy. Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone demonstrates that real democracy — fully inclusive and completely egalitarian — has always been elusive. Weaving together history, theory, the stories of individuals, and interviews with leading intellectuals, Taylor invites us to reexamine the term. Is democracy a means or an end, a process or a set of desired outcomes? What if those outcomes, whatever they may be — peace, prosperity, equality, liberty, an engaged citizenry — can be achieved by non-democratic means?? In what areas of life should democratic principles apply? If democracy means rule by the people, what does it mean to rule and who counts as the people? Democracy’s inherent paradoxes often go unnamed and unrecognized. Exploring such questions, Democracy May Not Exist offers a better understanding of what is possible, why democracy is so hard to realize, and why it remains worth striving for.

 

"We live in an age that demands that we rethink democracy from the roots — and teach ourselves to think again as citizens. Smart and engaging, Astra Taylor’s Democracy May Not Exist makes a formidable contribution to meeting those pressing generational challenges." —Danielle Allen, author of Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality

 

"What is this thing called Democracy? Google the question and you will exceed one million hits. But for an honest and illuminating answer, read this book — every single word. Searching, lucid, visionary, Astra Taylor takes a deep oceanic dive into the history, meaning, uses, and promise of democracy — moving from Plato’s Greece to Syriza’s Greece, from the Global South to post-Communist East, from slavery to fascism, liberalism to neoliberalism, Occupy to the Commons. She knows what most political scientists don’t: that democracy is a promise unfulfilled, and in our strivings to achieve it nothing is guaranteed. But we can’t live without it." — Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

 

"Astra Taylor is a rare public intellectual, utterly committed to asking humanity’s most profound questions yet entirely devoid of pretensions and compulsively readable. Now she plunges deep into the crisis that underlies so many others: the sorry state (and the exhilarating promise) of this thing called democracy. At once richly historical and immediately relevant, this wise, lucid and unflinchingly honest book deserves to be at the center of public debate." — Naomi Klein, author of No Is Not Enough

Hi-Res Poster

Hi-Res Images

Trailer Embed Code

Click here to learn more at Kino Lorber Edu. Interested in bringing What is Democracy? to your school or library? If you'd like to have an in-class viewing, on-campus screening, or purchase the DVD for your library's collection, please visit our site or contact Estelle Grosso at EDU@kinolorber.com or call (212) 629-6880 with your request.

To read more about Kino Lorber Edu's terms of use and ordering information, visit Kino Lorber Edu.

Join the conversation
'@KinoLorber' on Sep. 18 2020 at 3:44pm
RT' @DVDBeaver': "Rawhead Rex" 2020 Steelbook Blu-ray' @KinoLorber' US:' https://t.co/81KmHMcNI2' OUR COMPARISON:' https://t.co/ZVibT9uxye' He’s pu…
'@KinoLorber' on Sep. 18 2020 at 3:43pm
RT' @OliverSacksDoc': "This riveting and poignant documentary, which launches virtually on the Kino Marquee platform on 23 September, is Sack…
'@KinoLorber' on Sep. 18 2020 at 12:50pm
Don't miss a free screening of' @robmockler's' mind-bending techno-thriller' @LikeMeFilm' followed by a conversation wi…' https://t.co/n5j1PdDPDO'
'@KinoLorber' on Sep. 18 2020 at 12:44pm
RT' @ProfJStewart': This film has always fascinated me—South Side noir via Argentina...a must-see! Many thanks to my cherished' @tcm' comrade' @…'
'@KinoLorber' on Sep. 18 2020 at 12:43pm
RT' @cine_cina': We’re very excited to work with' @KinoLorber' and' @JonathanDHowell' to bring the amazing films by Jia Zhang-ke and Tsai Ming-li…
'@KinoLorber' on Sep. 18 2020 at 12:43pm
RT' @RegLenna': Support The Reg! Rent and stream' @BuoyancyTheFilm' with' @KinoLorber' and' @RegLenna' will get 40% of the ticket proceeds. Rent…
'@KinoLorber' on Sep. 18 2020 at 11:02am
RT' @KLStudioClassic': Coming December 15th on DVD and Blu-ray! Bodies, Rest & Motion (1993) • Brand New 4K Master • Audio Commentary by Dir…
'@KinoLorber' on Sep. 17 2020 at 6:06pm
RT' @selfstyledsiren': This screened at MoMA in 2016, with an excellent' @EddieMuller' intro. It is strange, flawed but also beautiful and inte…
'@KinoLorber' on Sep. 17 2020 at 6:03pm
RT' @The_Ent_Factor': The classic horror comedy THE GHOST BREAKERS (1940) starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard has been released on Blu-ray…
'@KinoLorber' on Sep. 17 2020 at 6:03pm
RT' @The_Ent_Factor': The classic drama DISPUTED PASSAGE (1939) starring Dorothy Lamour, Akim Tamiroff and John Howard has been released on B…
Tweet Now!

Inquiries & Press

General Inquiries

Kino Lorber, Inc.
333 W. 39th St., Ste. 503
New York, NY 10018
Tel. (212) 629-6880
Tel. (800) 562-3330
Fax. (212) 714-0871

Press & Media

For publicity assistance and press inquiries please contact us by emailing dninh@kinolorber.com or calling 212-629-6880.

Educational

Please visit our educational site at www.KinoLorberEDU.com

For assistance with educational orders, please contact us at:

Phone:212-629-6880
Fax: 212-714-0871
Email: edu@kinolorber.com