Screening: The Divide + Q&A

Screening Monday 16 May 2016, 7:00 PM

This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Katharine Round and executive producer Christopher Hird.


Inspired by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s best-selling book The Spirit Level, Katharine Round’s accomplished debut feature illustrates a more personal account of how inequality shapes our societies.

The film weaves together seven characters each striving for a better life: Wall Street psychologist Alden wants to make it to the top 1%; Glaswegian rapper Darren just wants to stay sober; Newcastle carer Rochelle wishes her job wasn’t looked down on so much; Jen in Sacramento, California, doesn’t even talk to the neighbours in her upscale gated community – they’ve made it clear to her she isn’t “their kind”. It becomes clear that a higher income doesn’t ensure happiness and inequality hurts us all – rich and poor.

The film travels across the world and into individual lives to see how broad economic shifts have shaped not only our physical circumstances, but also the way we think and what we believe in. It reveals, piece by piece, the forces that have undermined our economic foundations, and led to a dramatic transfer of wealth to the very top: the top 0.1% in the US own as much wealth as the bottom 90% of the population.

The film features high profile commentators, including former economic adviser to Margaret Thatcher, Sir Alan Budd, historian Sir Max Hastings, economist Ha-Joon Chang, Noam Chomsky and epidemiologist Sir Michael Marmot. The Divide plots parallel character narratives together with an archive spine, juxtaposing news reports from 1979 to the present day, with the outcomes of those economic decisions and the thinking that made them possible. The lines are clearly drawn between the big picture and the very personal, producing a new and more human way of depicting the true toll of rising inequality.

Directed and produced by: Katharine Round
Executive producer: Christopher Hird
Runtime: 74′
Country: United Kingdom/Lebanon/Switzerland