A new theme consisting of films and debates, which will examine the rapidly growing populist movements in Europe and America that in recent years have really changed the face of Europe. 

‘Is this the end of the West as we know it?’ asked the renowned American journalist Anne Applebaum in an almost prophetic insight in the Washington Post in March 2016, when she foresaw that we were only three choices away from a collapse of the liberal world order that has characterised the international system since World War II: victories for Brexit, Trump, and Le Pen in France for May 2017. Barely a year after Applebaum’s warning, her first two predictions happened as feared, with victories for the nationalist and populist movements. What is happening?

With this specific programme CPH:DOX will, between March 16-26, focus on the rise of populism in Europe. From the right-winged parties that has taken over the Northern European streets as well as government agencies in Eastern Europe to the left populist movements that are booming in the crisis-hit southern Europe. Are we, as Applebaum predicted, only a French election away from the end of the liberal world order? Is democracy in crisis? Or is the populist success merely an expression of the fact that someone is finally listening to the people after many years in which Europe’s elites led ‘politics of necessity’ without taking into consideration the people’s opinion? And may it be that some of these statements are partially true?

The full programme for ‘POWER TO THE PEOPLE’ will be published on March 1, but today we can already reveal a number of key films:

‘Keep Quiet’ (Joseph Martin and Sam Blair) is a captivating documentary thriller that follows the Hungarian politician Csanad Szegedi: anti-Semite, Holocaust denier and ready to take charge of the country’s most extreme, right-wing conservative party Jobbik. Right until his grandmother reveals a lifelong secret that turns his world upside down.

‘Miranda – the making of a politician’ (Mats Ågren) is the story of a 14-year-old girl from the southern parts of Sweden who engages politically in the Swedish Democrats – an extreme right wing and anti-immigrant party that entered the Swedish Parliament in 2014, due to the changed political climate in Sweden. Miranda is educated and ideologically trained in their youth organisation SDU and makes a quick and straightforward career as she reaches out for a chair in the parliament. Soon, however, she ends up in direct conflict with the party leadership and is forced to make hard choices about her future prospects. ‘

‘Politics – Instruction Manual’ (Fernando Leon de Aranoa) is a fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary about the rise of Podemos, the insurgent Spanish political party founded on the basis of a nationwide anti-austerity movement that dramatically upended the country’s traditional, hidebound two-party system. Following a dramatic arc that seems to be made for cinema, Politics, Instructions Manual presents the spirit of Podemos and the eloquent, thoughtful people behind it, offering a much-needed alternative to the party politics plaguing Spain’s system.

‘Tutti a Casa – People and Power’ (Lise Birk Pedersen) delves into the genesis of the Italian rebel party M5S (The 5 Star Movement) and the party’s charismatic leader, the former comedian Bebbe Grillo. The party surprised everyone when they got into parliament with 25% of the votes. But what happens when the party members’ political ideals meet the parliamentary reality? And is Grillo a fascist in-the-making or a front fighting for a new democratic Italy?

‘General Report II. The New Abduction of Europe’ (Pere Portabella) is a status report on democracy in Spain, where the crisis causes rage and tears, and is more than just about the money. People are losing trust in the institutions that replaced the dictatorship. But Portabella has not lost the confidence of the people – and the deep democratic potential that lies in dialogue and culture. Conversations between activist, workers, politicians and scientists (and people in general) are the backbone of Portabella’s panoramic film.

‘Boiling Point’ (Elina Hirvoren) takes a kaleidoscopic look at the social tensions that have followed in the wake of the refugee crisis, in the director’s homeland in Finland. A country where immigration hostile vigilante group Soldiers of Odin patrol the streets, the movement ‘Finland First’ organises demonstrations in front of the detention centres and the populist ‘Finns Party’ storms into parliament to put a full stop to immigration. Hirvonen’s film is a compassionate, nuances portrayal of a country close to the social boiling point.


The films can be seen during CPH:DOX March 16 to 26. Ticket sales will start March 1.