Democracy and Its Discontents

Democracy and Its Discontents

Are you ready for the counter-revolution? Just in time for the coming mid-term elections we've updated our collection of films on the theory and practice of democracy here in the U,S., in Russia, and other countries around the world -- is there a future in it? Will we know next Tuesday night?

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Democracy and Its Discontents
  • The Owl's Legacy: Democracy, or City of Dreams

    Directed by Chris Marker • Documentary • 1989 • 26 minutes

    “Modern and ancient democracy have no genetic relationship” -- Mihalis Sakellariou

    An in-depth—but not overly dense—exploration of how Athenian democracy worked, and the key ways it differs from modern states using the word. Ancient Gre...

  • American Socialist: Eugene Debs

    Directed by Yale Strom • Documentary • With Eugene Victor Debs, Amy Madigan, Richard Wolff, Dr. Frances Fox Piven, Dr. Nick Salvatore • 2018 • 97 minutes

    Bernie Sanders inspired a generation – but who inspired him? Yale Strom's new documentary traces the history of American populism by exploring...

  • You Got to Move: Stories of Change in the South

    Directed by Lucy Massie Phenix and Veronica Selver • Documentary • With Myles Horton, May Justice, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Bernice Robinson • 1985 • 85 minutes

    Lucy Massie Phenix's You Got to Move: Stories of Change in the South is about individuals who have dared to change the world for the be...

  • Feed: A Comedy About Running for President

    Directed by Kevin Rafferty & James Ridgeway • Documentary • 1992 • 76 minutes

    Using intercepted satellite feeds and footage of unsuspecting candidates shot during the 1992 presidential primaries, Feed presents the wild, wacky world of American politics.

    Watch Hillary Clinton navigate her first ...

  • With God On Our Side (series)

    6 items

    WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE is a six-hour documentary series treating one of the most important political and cultural stories in contemporary America: the rise to power of the Religious Right.

    This in-depth investigation traces its roots from the anxious "Christian anti-Communism" of the 1950's to th...

  • The Revisionaries

    Directed by Scott Thurman • Documentary • With Ron Wetherington, Kathy Miller, Cynthia Dunbar, Don McLeroy • 2012 • 83 minutes

    In Austin, Texas, fifteen people influence what is taught to the next generation of American children. Once every decade, the highly politicized Texas State Board of Ed...

  • Advise & Dissent: Where the Supreme Court and Politics Collide

    Directed by David Van Taylor • Documentary • 2012 • 87 minutes

    The first documentary to go behind the lines and into the trenches of the judicial confirmation wars, ADVISE & DISSENT tracks two opposing lobbyists and two lions of the Senate through several recent nominations, each of which inflam...

  • Jesus Politics

    Documentary • 2008 • 90 minutes

    After fighting as an Israeli soldier in the 1973 war, and troubled by the nation's obsessive mixing of the Bible with politics, the filmmaker left for America, which he considered a "safe haven" because of its separation between church and state. Thirty-five years...

  • The Toxic Reigns of Resentment

    Directed by Jurgen Schflechner, Tim van den Hoff • Documentary • 2020 • 52 minutes

    The revival of nationalism paired with xenophobia, an increasing tribalization of politics, and a public sphere oscillating between cruelty and sentimentality mark significant parts of our current political Zeitge...

  • I Am Not a Monster

    Directed by Nelly Ben Hayoun • Documentary • With Noam Chomsky, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Brewster Kahle • 2019 • 98 minutes

    ‘To act is to begin something new’ said Hannah Arendt, one of the greatest thinkers of all time who passed away in 1975 and who coined the concept of the ‘banality of evil’. In th...

  • Now He's Out in Public and Everyone Can See

    Directed by Natalie Bookchin • Documentary • 2017 • 24 minutes

    A riveting polyphonic documentary, NOW HE'S OUT IN PUBLIC AND EVERYONE CAN SEE presents a fractured narrative about an unnamed man whose racial identity is continually redrawn and contested by clusters of impassioned narrators. This ...

  • Capturing the Flag

    Directed by Anne de Mare • Documentary • 2018 • 76 minutes

    A tight-knit group of friends travel to Cumberland County, North Carolina—the 2016 'posterchild' for voter suppression—intent on proving that the big idea of American democracy can be defended by small acts of individual citizens. What t...

  • The Campaign

    Directed by Tom Cohen • Documentary • 1982 • 90 minutes

    Part of the acclaimed Middletown series.

    Focusing on a mayoral race in Muncie, Indiana, THE CAMPAIGN follows closely the personalities, strategies, and pressures of an American political contest. In particular, it examines the sharply cont...

  • 30 Second Democracy

    Directed by David Vainola • Documentary • 1996 • 51 minutes

    :30 Second Democracy explores the disturbing relationship between political parties and the advertising industry during election campaigns. Through television advertising, techniques perfected to sell commercial products are readily app...

  • The Candidate

    Directed by Daniel Hendler • Drama • With Diego De Paula, Matías Singer, Ana Katz, Verónica Llinás, César Troncoso, Alan Sabbagh, Roberto Suárez. • 2017 • 84 minutes

    In this wry and timely political comedy of manners, Martín Marchand, the son of a wealthy businessman, retreats to his lavish, sec...

  • This Is Our Land

    Directed by Lucas Belvaux • Drama • With Émilie Dequenne, André Dussollier, Guillaume Gouix • 2018 • 114 minutes

    Marine Le Pen was defeated in the French election that brought Emmanuel Macron to power, but her far right-wing party, with its nationalist, anti-immigrant platform, lives on to feed...

  • Frontrunners

    Directed by Caroline Suh • Documentary • 2008 • 83 minutes

    Frontrunners is a smart and funny political documentary that follows the student council presdiential campaign at one of the country's most prestigious public high schools: Stuyvesant High School in New York City. Follow four charming an...

  • Priceless

    Directed by Steve Cowan • Documentary • 2011 • 58 minutes

    PRICELESS examines the growing cost of federal elections, the impact of political campaign fundraising on members of Congress and on policymaking, and the citizen movement to limit the "undue influence" of large campaign donors.

    This no...

  • How Putin Came to Power

    Directed by Tania Rakhmanova • Documentary • 2005 • 52 minutes

    In August 1999, Vladimir V. Putin, head of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), successor to the KGB, was appointed Prime Minister. On December 31st of that year, Boris Yeltsin announced that Putin would succeed him as President ...

  • Putin's Witnesses

    Directed by Vitaly Mansky • Documentary • 2018 • 102 minutes

    On December 31, 1999, Russian president Boris Yeltsin went on live television just before midnight. He announced he was stepping down, and his chosen successor, Vladimir Putin, would take over as acting president. Putin promised a pres...

  • Thinking Existenz - Ep 09 - Lula da Silva

    Directed by Graça Castanheira • Documentary • With Lula da Silva • 2013 • 30 minutes

    Ten personalities from diverse social and geographical backgrounds reflect on the world and its future. A portrait in multiple voices of contemporary reality, revealing the deep connections that exist between ou...

  • The Corporate Coup d'État

    Directed by Fred Peabody • Documentary • With Chris Hedges, Phillip Martin, Sarah Jaffe, Matt Taibbi, Lee Fang, John Ralston Saul • 2018 • 90 minutes

    This investigative documentary exposes how corporations and billionaires have taken control of the American political process, and in doing so hav...

  • Berkeley in the Sixties

    Directed by Mark Kitchell • Documentary • With Ronald Reagan, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mario Savio, Huey Newton, Allen Ginsberg, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix • 1990 • 117 minutes

    Berkeley in the Sixties recaptures the exhilaration and turmoil of the unprecedented student protests that sha...

  • Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority

    Directed by Kimberlee Bassford • Documentary • 56 minutes

    In 1965, Patsy Takemoto Mink became the first woman of color in the United States Congress. Seven years later, she ran for the US presidency and was the driving force behind Title IX, the landmark legislation that transformed women’s oppo...