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News > U.S.

‘Knock Down The House’: 4 Women Challenging US Ruling Elite

  • ‘Knock Down The House’, a documentary on four young women taking on established Democrats features Alexandria Osacio-Cortez.

    ‘Knock Down The House’, a documentary on four young women taking on established Democrats features Alexandria Osacio-Cortez. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 May 2019

A documentary on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other women running for U.S. Congress and challenging the status quo of the ruling class released Wednesday.

“Knock Down the House”, a political documentary following four women’s journey to the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2018 United States mid-term elections was released on Netflix on May Day.


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The documentary by Rachel Lears shows the stories of Amy Vilela in Nevada, Cori Bush in Missouri, Paula Jean Swearengin in West Virginia, and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in New York. All these women ran against incumbent Democrats in the mid-term elections.

Only Ocasio-Cortez was successful in the end. However, this film is much more than AOC. It is about the challenge of ousting the ruling elite.

“I started this process working with the organizations Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats to get in contact with the people that they were considering supporting,” Lears told the Guardian.

“They were recruiting people, and some of our conversations started before the candidates had even launched their campaign. Each of them saw the value in telling their story even before they knew what the story was going to be.”

The director did not know where the story would turn.  She did not also anticipate the stardom of AOC but soon Lears realized that the then-candidate was a real-life underdog story: a progressive bartender from the Bronx taking on an established Democrat.

“The purpose of the documentary is not to create a platform for the politicians,” Lears explained. “The purpose is to tell a story about a historic moment, and what it was like for the people inside it, and how the politically impossible becomes possible.”

The movie which was shown in some festivals prior to release on Netflix has changed many people’s perspectives who were getting influenced by right-wing media.

“We’ve had incredible responses from Republicans and even Trump voters who see it at festivals and come up to us sometimes even in tears and tell us how much they were moved, and how it changed their conceptions. One woman said to us: ‘All I knew about AOC was what I’d heard on Fox News and now I see that she’s really different than that,’” Lears said of her encounters with people who watched her film.

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