cinéSPEAK presents: What Is Democracy?

Astra Taylor / USA / 2018 / Digital / 107 min.

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Presented by cinéSPEAK
In collaboration with Philly DSA and Reclaim Philadelphia

Join us for the Philadelphia premiere of What is Democracy? presented by cinéSPEAK! Following the film, Director Astra Taylor (of Zizek! and Examined Lives) will be in-conversation with Chenjerai Kumanyika (Uncivil Podcast) and members of Philly Democratic Socialists of America and Reclaim Philadelphia.


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.

cinéSPEAK is a Philadelphia-based organization that engages diverse audiences through our independent, repertory + foreign film programming; creating space + centering the stories of individuals and communities that are often underrepresented in mainstream cinema.

We promote community togetherness + global understanding by engaging film enthusiasts while cultivating the next generation of discerning moviegoers; encouraging people to demand social justice both on-screen + throughout society.

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