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THE TOXIC REIGNS OF RESENTMENT

DOCUMENTARY  |  52 MIN. | 2019

An interview film on the emotion of resentment and how it defines culture and politics today. Featuring: Wendy Brown, Grayson Hunt, Rahel Jaeggi, Alexander Nehamas, Robert Pfaller, Gyan Prakash, Peter Sloterdijk, and Sjoerd van Tuinen.

I watched this movie and all my deeply held, bitter and vengeful feelings of resentment immediately disappeared.

— Simon Critchley, New School for Social Research

The revival of nationalism paired with xenophobia, an increasing tribalization of politics, and a public sphere oscillating between cruelty and sentimentality mark significant parts of our current political Zeitgeist. Politicians, scholars and journalists alike speak of a culture of resentment that defines politics today. How did we enter such a toxic climate? Are these developments a response to the ubiquity of neoliberal market structures eroding the basic solidarities in our society? Has the spread of social media triggered a culture of trolling and hyper moralization? And has the left given in to forms of politics where moralization and cynical mockery outdo collective visions of the future? This documentary film introduces and critically discusses concepts of resentment and their relation to our current political juncture. 

The film premiered October 18th, 2019 at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Yale and the New School in New York.

It is a too rare event to find philosophical reflection targeted on a topic of central contemporary importance offered in a popular and accessible form. The Toxic Reigns of Resentment is a compelling demonstration of what public philosophy can be. Arranged as an oblique series of conversations and arguments, the documentary powerfully displays the complexity of the concept of resentment in relation to diagnoses of contemporary political culture. It is hard to imagine how this could have been done better.

— J.M. Bernstein, New School for Social Research