If you were to take courses on modern documentary cinema or look at out any online platform that analyzes any piece of non-fiction storytelling, political documentaries such as Weiner, The War Room, 13th, The Fog of War, Dark Money, Hearts and Minds the films of Michael Moore, and the films of Alexandria Pelosi on HBO have become notable icons. In the summer of 2019, one documentary puts the concept and practice of democracy towards its own reflection.
Written and directed by Brazilian actress and filmmaker Petra Costa, The Edge of Democracy takes an in-depth look on how her home country’s largest and most significant political corruption scandal, Operation Car Wash or Operação Lava Jato, was influenced by its dictatorial past and its uncertain future. The film also highlights the rise and fall of the leftist Workers’ Party and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as well as his own successor Dilma Rousseff, who became the country’s first female president.
Throughout the film, Costa and her film crew analyze how da Silva and Rousseff, who were alleged to have taken part of a bribery scandal involving the Brazilian state-owned oil company, Petrobras. Additionally, the documentary examines how the investigation into the Petrobras scandal was becoming impartial as well as politically motivated by the country’s political establishment and conservatives against da Silva, Rousseff, and the Workers’ Party, who lifted millions of people out of poverty through welfare programs, legalized same-sex marriage, and made Brazil one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Overall, this documentary is worth watching at a time when democracy is gradually sliding towards illiberalism or fascism throughout the world from Russia and Hungary to Poland and Italy and Austria. It has become a warning sign for those who seek justice, freedom, and liberty.
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