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, 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.

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Ratings and Reviews


Critics Consensus: What Is Democracy? poses a question big enough for a series of films -- and still manages to answer it in consistently thoughtful and engaging fashion.

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