Everyday Activist - The Edge of Democracy (Netflix 2019)

Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at 06:00 PM

The Edge of Democracy (Netflix 2019)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

Before the Oscars I watched The Edge of Democracy on Netflix, but ran out of time to review it before the awards. Politics is always immersed in bribes and scandals no matter the country. The trick is to not get caught. Brazilian politics has so many layers that it is difficult to appreciate all the topics touched over five decades. After watching the film I had to do some extra reading. Two wonderful articles were from The Guardian and The Intercept. From watching The Great Hack, another Netflix documentary on my to be reviewed list, Cambridge Analytica used data to target social media campaigns to encourage civil unrest. As one of the four female directors of Oscar contenders in the feature length documentary category, Petra Costa, manages to bring a personal touch to the corrupt politics of Brazil.

The United States often has involvement in South American politics to varying degrees, even with the Obama Administration, which is part of the time period of Costa’s film, though she veers away from such discussions. Before Facebook, in 1964, the U.S backed Brazil’s military coup d'etat. The resulting change of government benefitted Costa’s maternal family. Her mother, a rebel in the purest sense, joined the cause to remove the military in the 70s to create a more equitable society. Joining the cause meant more than street protests. Often it meant jail and torture.

One of problems with Brazil’s democracy is a party’s inability to win a clear majority without needing to form a coalition usually in the form of bribes. To Costa and many others she interviews, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula), made a difference to the poor people; however, he could only do so using coalition partners. When Dilma Rouseff replaced Lula, she vowed to “clean up” politics. Operation Car Wash revealed corruption, while destabilizing the fragile government, ousting her from power. Costa includes plenty of information about the corruption, including the incriminating conversations.

When talking about India, my dad would say, “The rich are so rich, you can’t believe it and the poor are so poor you can’t believe it. It’s only a matter of time before it’s the same everywhere.” In Canada, we seem to be insulated for now as long as we demand transparency and pay attention to the politics and policies of the governments we elect. The United States billionaires need resources. Without informed citizens, Canada becomes vulnerable to people such as Elon Musk, who wants control of South America's Lithium deposits (via People's Dispatch). 

Calgary Showtimes:  Edge of Democracy, The >


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