The Edge of Democracy

2020-01-28T20:53:59+00:00Categories: Docs in Review|

The Edge of Democracy Director/ Petra Costa Watched on Amazon Rating 3.5/5   The title of this film is misleading. Brazil isn’t so much on the edge of democracy as the edge of totalitarianism, or better yet, wandering in the abyss of democracy’s wreckage. With the vulgar nativist and racist Jair Bolsonaro (remind you of anyone?) having slipped into the presidency during a judicial coup, even though he was spectacularly less popular than the former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula), the country is in the throes of an astonishing decline from its progressive heights of the 2000s, which saw Lula win two terms and then handpick a successor, Dilma Rousseff, only for him to be incarcerated on questionable charges, and her to be impeached under flimsy pretenses. Petra Costa’s comprehensive documentary covers the last 20 years of Brazil’s politics with clarity and personal insight. She is the child of radicals who fought for years for Lula’s victory, only to see the nation’s new democracy ransacked by greed, corruption, lies, and extremist propaganda, aided by oil companies, oligarchs and religious fundamentalists. Yes, it is all too close to home for American audiences, which is why we need to see the film. If nothing else, it will help us understand how easy it is for depraved characters like Bolsonaro and Trump to exploit a nation’s weakness or distractions and then, with the help of bottomlessly corrupt politicians and an easily duped section of the public, flip the switch on democracy from light to dark. That is the [...]