Capital in the Twenty-First Century (12A)

Capital in the Twenty-First Century (12A)

Director: Justin Pemberton

Runtime: 103 minutes

Cast: Thomas Piketty,Vanessa Redgrave, Gillian Tett, Rana Foroohar, Ian Bremmer, Francis Fukuyama, Paul Piff, Bryce Edwards, Simon Johnson, Lucas Chancel, Faisa Shaheen, Gabriel Zucman, Joseph Stiglitz, Suresh Naidu, Paul Mason, Kate Williams

Synopsis: Adapting one of the most ground-breaking and powerful books of our time, CAPITAL IN THE 21st CENTURY is an eye-opening journey through wealth and power, that breaks the popular assumption that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress, shining a new light on the world around us and its growing inequalities. Traveling through time from the French Revolution and other huge global shifts, two world wars and through to the rise of new technologies today, the film assembles accessible pop-culture references alongside interviews with some of the world’s most influential experts delivering an insightful and empowering journey through the past and into our future.


Filmmaker Justin Pemberton [Chasing Great (2016), Love Speed and Loss (2005), The Nuclear Comeback (2007)] examines issues related to wealth, power, poverty and inequality, based on French economist Thomas Piketty’s international bestseller of the same name, which sold over three million copies worldwide. This captivating documentary is an eye-opening journey through wealth and power, a film which breaks the popular assumption that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress, and which shines a new light on today’s growing inequalities.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century explores economic inequality throughout history, arguing that capitalism, with its promise of equal opportunity for advancement, is not in fact at all fair. The wealthiest people have always found ways to keep their wealth insulated, whether through inheritance or through closed systems in which the same money is continually recirculated, rather than being invested in the general welfare. Even in China, where the average citizen’s income has increased greatly in the past decade, the increases for the top 1% are drastically higher. The wealthy also use many tricks to distance themselves from the poor, the film explains, ranging from the concept of fashion trends to blaming immigrants. The documentary suggests that unless capitalism is reformed, the very democratic order will be threatened and that if regulations are not put into place, the divide between rich and poor will become disastrous.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century, as a traditional feature length documentary, cannot hope to address its subject with the same depth as its Piketty source, but the end result remains a timely, eye-opening, concise overview of wealth, power and inequality.

Showing in cinemas : and streaming now.

Images courtesy of STUDIO CANAL