What Is Democracy? Directed
Astra Taylor Canada / 2018 / 108 minutes New York Premiere
English, Greek, Arabic with subtitles
Times and Venues:
Orpheum Theater SAUGERTIES
Q&A Attendees *subject to change: Astra Taylor
"Everywhere you look democracy is in trouble," observes director Astra Taylor as she travels the world to document the wave of authoritarianism sweeping the planet. Drawing on the ancient Greek philosophers and intercutting footage of the remnants of ancient Greece, Taylor seeks to tackle the question of "How shall we live?" With cameos by some of the most brilliant minds of our time, Taylor interviews Cornel West, Angela Davis and Wendy Brown, among others, and ferrets out the dark side of what we think of as democracy, with its institutionalized racism, poverty and greed. Plato observed the simple truth that the rich strive for more wealth to the detriment of the poor, and he thus believed that rulers should be impoverished. In a stark and revelatory interview, former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou dispels the notion of democracy — when loans from neighboring countries and the IMF result in austerity and riots. This is a fascinating account with parallels as true today as in Plato’s time. —Barbara Pokras
BIO: Astra Taylor is a filmmaker, writer, and political organizer. She is the director of the philosophical documentaries What Is Democracy?, Examined Life (TIFF 2008), and Zizek! (TIFF 2005); the author of the American Book Award winner The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age; and a co-founder of the Debt Collective. She has written for The New York Times, The London Review of Books, The Guardian, The Walrus, The Baffler, n+1, and many other outlets. She is a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow and a former touring member of the band Neutral Milk Hotel. Her new book, Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone, will be out from Metropolitan Books in early 2019.
Cast/Featuring: Silvia Federici, Cornel West, Wendy Brown, Angela Davis
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