What is Democracy?

Democracy is in crisis, and Canadian director Astra Taylor’s What is Democracy? draws up a case summary of the crisis on the basis of extensive interviews. The film was shot in the United States, Greece and Italy, and it distinguishes itself from other depictions of rising authoritarianism particularly with its use of multiple angles. The people discussing the state of democracy do not include only researchers, politicians and activists but also teenage school kids and emergency room surgeons, for example.

Modern day problems are mirrored to the thoughts of ancient Greek philosophers, the development of city-states in Italy, and the experiences of the civil rights movement in the United States. The film moves from country and era to another with fast pace. It does not offer any unambiguous answers to rising questions, but the growing differences in income and increasing power for the rich in politics come up in different connections. Violence created by despair derogates the democratic order of society and turns regular people against each other.

Matti Ylönen (Translation: Marko Pyhähuhta)

Language: Arabic, English, Greek, Spanish
Subtitles: English (partly)

  • Director: Astra Taylor
  • Country: Canada
  • Year: 2018
  • Length: 107 min
  • Age limit: K12
  • Format: DCP
  • Cinematography: Maya Bankovic
  • Editing: Robert Kennedy
  • Music: Heather McIntosh
  • Production: Anita Lee / National Film Board of Canada


  • Andorra: Tue 29.1. at 17.30
  • Kinopalatsi 6: Fri 1.2. at 19.15
  • Kinopalatsi 1: Sun 3.2. at 19.45