What is Democracy

Fascinating. Confronts us with our pathetic condition and refuses to offer an easy solution, because we need to work it out together.


What is Democracy

Part of our Culture Vulture series. For more screenings and information, visit: www.laemmle.com/culturevulture.
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 (
Zizek!, Examined Life) 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 Angela Davis and Cornel West, 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.
Not Rated
Documentary, Culture Vulture, Politics & World Affairs
English, Greek, Spanish, Arabic
Astra Taylor
Leah Pickett Chicago Reader

For those itching to take a political philosophy class or wishing they’d paid more attention in college, this documentary is a potent introductory course. Canadian-American filmmaker Astra Taylor (Examined Life) traces the idea of democracy back to its roots in ancient Greece and Plato’s Republic ...

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