Capital in the Twenty-First Century

dir. Justin Pemberton 2019 United States 103 min.
2019 – FF Hamburg, 2019 – FF Sydney, 2019 – IFF New Zealand
Based on Thomas Piketty's No. 1 "New York Times" Bestseller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" explores one of the most important and controversial subjects of our time: wealth, and who gets a share of the dividends.

"Capital  in the Twenty-First Century" by Thomas Piketty has been hailed as one of the most important books of our time. It was complimented by both Barack Obama and Jarosław Kaczyński. Moreover, for a year this book on economics was a bestseller on Amazon. The theses and postulates contained in it very quickly penetrated the mainstream of public debate, becoming a reference point for world leaders. Piketty believes that as a result of growing inequality and accumulation of capital in the hands of a smaller and smaller group of people, humanity is returning to the moment before the great social explosions, such as the French and Bolshevik revolutions. He makes unpopular theses in the liberal world about the need to tax the richest, with the tech giants at the forefront. Some commentators believe that he is trying to protect capitalism from itself.

The director uses bold visual means, knowing that in this day and age the formula of talking heads will scare the viewer away. In doing so, he manages to show how capitalism builds our desires and aspirations to maintain the status quo.

Pemberton's film is a mine of information not only about how capital and power relations are shaped today, but also about how they looked in the past. Using economic and historical facts, he proves the thesis that equitable distribution of the fruits of economic growth alleviates social unrest. He shows how organized social movements can force change on the privileged classes, which will ultimately benefit everyone. Piketty's premise is that the world needs to change because the continuation of current liberal tendencies will lead to global conflicts on an unprecedented scale. You can agree or disagree with him, but it's certainly a good idea to know him.

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