New Zealand filmmaker Justin Pemberton had just finished a documentary for a local TV station about the problem of income inequality when French economist Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” a book detailing the wealth inequality of two centuries of capitalism, became a runaway hit.
Pemberton, who had long had a passion for economics, politics, and psychology dove right into the book. “I was fascinated by the massive time horizon,” he says.
“Capital” tells the story of money and wealth from the 18th century to the present, detailing revolutions, depressions, and wars—and piercing the widely accepted view that the accumulation of capital and social progress are intertwined.
Practically unheard of for an economics book, “Capital” hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list in 2014, selling millions of copies.
Piketty, himself a film buff, wanted to do a popular culture version of the book, and several producers were pitching for the rights. Eventually, Piketty chose New Zealand producer Matthew Metcalfe, and Pemberton was hired as the director.
Piketty liked the idea of the story of European and American capital being told by “outsiders, people from the bottom of the world,” said Pemberton.
“Capital in the Twenty-First Century” opens in theaters in April 2020.
Read the story at Worth.
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