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Interview With British Chambers Of Commerce Director Genera Shevaun Havland; Interview With Bloomberg Senior Executive Editor Stephanie Flanders; Interview With "Woman King" Director Gina Prince-Bythewood; Interview With "The Great Experiment" Author Yascha Mounk. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired February 02, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to AMANPOUR. Here is what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Rishi Sunak hear us say. We need you to raise our pay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Dark skies over the British economy after the biggest day of strikes and the worst cost of living crisis in a decade. We look at what is
going on in the world's sixth largest economy. Then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're asking me to take them all to war.
VIOLA DAVIS, ACTRESS, "THE WOMAN KING": Some things are worth fighting for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: "The Woman King" how an elite team of African female fighters fought back European invaders. I speak to director Gina Prince-Bythewood,
about her new film, Viola Davis, and what some say is a snub by the academy awards. Plus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YASCHA MOUNK, AUTHOR, "THE GREAT EXPERIMENT": When you actually look at how difficult and undertaken this is and how much progress we have made
over the course of the last 200, 250 years, we should be a lot more optimistic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: "The Great Experiment", political scientist, Yascha Mounk, tells Walter Isaacson why some democracies fall apart and how they could endure.
Welcome to the, program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England raised interest rates again just today after a similar move by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The
endgame, reducing inflation. But amid those big players, Britain seems, in particular, troubled, as the international monetary fund warns it will be
the only major economy to shrink this year. Even Russia, crippled by western sanctions, is expected to see more growth.
It poses an extraordinary challenge for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, 100 days since he took office. Indeed, here in Britain, the pain and anger has
poured into the streets with the country seeing its biggest strike in a decade, as many as half a million workers walking out from transport to
teachers' unions. And little light at the end of the tunnel, with the cost of living crisis that's forcing about 4 million children into poverty.
Correspondent Nada Bashir was there on Walkout Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overworked and underpaid.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voiceover): An estimated half a million public sector workers striking across the country, including teachers, transport
workers, and civil servants.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we want?
CROWD: 10 percent.
BASHIR (voiceover): With hundreds of schools forced to close, most train lines at a standstill, and government services severely disrupted.
BASHIR (on camera): Well, here in Central London, thousands of public sector workers have marched on Whitehall, the center of government, to
demand better pay and better working conditions. Trade unions say, the public sector is in a process, and this is only been exacerbated by record
high inflation and a deepening cost of living crisis.
BASHIR (voiceover): The strikes come amid an ongoing standoff between the government and trade unions. Despite past walkouts and increasing
pressures, the National Education Union says, negotiations with the government have stalled. And warns that schools are now facing a
recruitment and retention crisis.
MARY BOUSTED, GENERAL SECRETARY, NATIONAL EDUCATION UNION: That's a toxic combination of overwork and underpay. So, teachers are saying, very
reluctantly, none of the people behind me wants to be on strike today. But they are saying very reluctantly that enough is enough and that things have
BASHIR (voiceover): The government maintains that the door for negotiations is always open. And when it comes to the education sector,
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has criticized those taking strike action.
RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I am clear that our children's education is precious, and they deserve to be in school today, being
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The prime minister began this new year by promising to half inflation, while offering no specific plan to reverse the cost of living
crisis. So, what is happening to Great Britain, the first nation to industrialized and once at the forefront of the global economy? To answer
this, I'm joined here in the studio by Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, and by economist and executive editor
at Bloomberg, Stephanie Flanders.
Welcome to the program.
STEPHANIE FLANDERS, SENIOR EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, can I start by asking you to put into context and to explain for people this extraordinary fact that the IMF has said that Britain is
predicted to see its economy shrink this year and they only one of the major economies.
How is that possible? Even Russia, they say, can expect more growth. Shevaun?
SHEVAUN HAVILAND, DIRECTOR GENERAL, BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE: Certainly, so, I have the joy of -- to be able to spend my time traveling
the country and talking to businesses in the U.K. We have a large research program. And what they are telling us is it is tough out there. So, only 30
percent of businesses are expected to make a profit this year.
They -- inflation is their number one concern. It's the first time it has ever been the number one concern in the 30 years that the survey has been
running, and that five quarters in a row. So, increasing the cost of raw materials, shipping cost, difficulty in getting people, and now, of course,
spiraling energy bills. I mean, it's really tough out there.
AMANPOUR: It is tough out. Let me ask you as an economist and -- you're a former business leader, and we'll get back to that because business is very
worried right now. But as an economist and kind of having to tell the story via the media at Bloomberg, certainly. How do you tell people and explain
to people how Russia is going to do better under global sanctions Britain this year?
FLANDERS: Yes, I mean, I have to say, that particular comparison is a little bit crazy because, obviously, Russia shrank enormously last year
under the effect of sanctions ahead of the -- whereas actually the U.K. had much better growth from many other countries last year. So, part of this --
the IMF forecast and the comparison with other countries is a little bit of an accident of timing. And I can certainly say, as an economist, the IMF is
often wrong. I would not put a lot in store by this particular numbers.
But the bigger picture which you have been speaking about is definitely true. That Britain came out of COVID and is now going into this or has been
through this cost of living, energy price rise crisis with some of the worst characteristics of the U.S. and the worst characteristics of Europe.
You know, it has big energy price rise which the U.S. hasn't had but it's also got a very hot labor market, which the U.S. has. And then it's thrown
in some of its own program problems. A rather tired government and already struggling with growth, economy, struggling with Brexit economy. And then
result is we have faced a tougher time and most importantly when you look ahead, we face a much tougher time crawling our way out of it.
AMANPOUR: Shevaun, you -- as you said, were a business leader and you've worked, I think, for four years under the Theresa May Tory government, like
the one that's in place right now. So, you know what are the policies. We just talked about the -- some of the biggest strikes in at least a decade,
right? And I had read that even when Margaret Thatcher came in at the end of the '70s, she immediately gave public service workers a 25 percent rise.
I mean, these guys wont' really even negotiate. What is going on, from your perspective, in that? And how much do you think that is a result of the,
you know, cost of living crisis, but also plays into the economic instability as well.
HAVILAND: So, on the strikes' piece, strikes aren't good for anybody, they're not good people, they're not good for commuters, they're not good
for businesses. But we want to see is a negotiated outcome, get around the table and find the right solutions.
For the private sector, you know, people are businesses. Businesses aren't, sort of, this entity over here, they are made up of people. And businesses,
especially the SME's of all -- the small and medium sized enterprises of our membership, they want to pay their people well. They want their people
to be happy and to thrive.
So, they are juggling this, you know, trying to pay their people with their huge spiraling energy bills and all the other input costs. I mean, we
estimate there's probably input of about 20 to 25 percent for businesses, and obviously, output at 10 percent. It means they are absorbing a huge
amount into the margin and the cash can only last for so long.
So, they are finding other ways of ensuring that their people are looked after. They maybe price rises, they maybe salary rises, they might be one
off payments, they might be, sort of, the whole package of benefits.
AMANPOUR: That's private enterprise --
AMANPOUR: -- and private business.
AMANPOUR: The government says that it cannot do what the strikers are demanding because it can't afford it. And it keeps saying this whole issue
is about bringing down inflation, whether it's rising rates or not paying, you know, higher salaries. But -- and the government keeps saying that, oh,
it's not just us. It's all over Europe and all this.
But the figures don't bear that out. Inflation is over at 10 percent, a 40- year high here. In other European countries, it's lower. France, Ireland, Germany, all around seven and eight percent, and the U.S. is at eight and a
half percent. So, again, this used to be a thriving economy. What's it doing wrong right now?
FLANDERS: I think a big part of what's happened is for the best part, certainly, for seven or eight years, we've been -- at a time when there
lots of challenges facing lots of governments all around the world, we've just been focused on one that we created for ourselves, which is how to
cope, follow through on the decision to leave the E.U.
FLANDERS: And that has absorbed enormous amounts of government and official times. Businesses forced to respond to that. At a time when the
world has moved on, the world has been responding to all these other issues, and they are certainly responding to a changing global economy. You
mentioned, you know, our industrializing path. I mean, that was when we were in the forefront.
FLANDERS: And that basic ability to make more stuff with the same number of people, productivity, that's how you get richer. We have failed to do
that. Since the global financial crisis, our productivity has been stagnant compared to the rest of the world. And that is the fundamental problem that
leaves no money left on the table for nurses or teachers. And now makes it very hard for the chancellor to plan a future or to think about how to spur
AMANPOUR: Brexit, I've heard many in the business community talk about it, recently, and the challenges Stephanie is saying. The head of the CBI is
say, we need, as you've said, stability. But we need to be able to let our biggest trading partner, the E.U., actually have a relationship with us and
we need one. From a business, I'm not asking you about the politics, although the polls are showing that people are changing their minds about,
you know, the wisdom of the Brexit vote. From a business perspective, what needs to come out now, of the fact of Brexit, to make business hum again?
HAVILAND: Yes, two things. So, firstly, businesses can't get people. And they -- you know, if you talk to hospitality business, big hotel
businesses, they're running at like -- not even 80 percent capacity. We've got great manufacturing businesses. You can't fulfill their role of it
because they can't get the people. And if you take hospitality or care, they will tell you where the people used to come from, that they cannot
find anymore and it was because of Brexit.
HAVILAND: So, what we're saying to government and people is, you need to look at the structures that you, government, have put in. The shortest
occupation lists and turn on the taps in particular sectors so we can bring people in on short term visas and we can fix the problem, in the short
term, while we are building a high wage, high skilled economy.
AMANPOUR: I see you are a little devious about that.
HAVILAND: It -- you know, that's fantastic, we all want to be there. There will always be roles that aren't necessarily --
HAVILAND: -- high skilled, high -- you know. The hoteliers will say, I don't need somebody running my front desk within an A level. I need someone
with great customer service --
HAVILAND: -- wherever they come from.
AMANPOUR: And for our international viewers, A level is the exam that you graduate from high school with.
FLANDERS: And we also say, you know, we are -- this is talking about immigration. In case people -- and so, that is the same kind of politically
charged debate here as it is in the U.S. and other places. But that lack of labor, since we didn't invest in our own workforce back in the day because
it was very easy to bring people in from other parts of the world, that is another key problem that the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of
England pointed to today. They had a more gloomy forecast for the U.K. beyond the next few years than the IMF did. Partly based on the fact that
they didn't think that the U.K. was going to get enough people in its labor force.
AMANPOUR: Can I --
HAVILAND: Sorry --
AMANPOUR: Yes, go ahead.
HAVILAND: Just on my second point. So, trade. Trade with our biggest trading partner.
HAVILAND: Europe. So, I think -- so, it's been two years. We published report in December, trade and cooperation agreement two years on. And, you
know, I think we thought everyone have got -- would have gotten used to it by now, the changes in paperwork and so on. They haven't.
It's still incredibly difficult. The paperwork is difficult. I talked to two fantastical food and beverage manufacturers in December, who just
stopped exporting entirely. One of them is 20 percent of their business, food and drink to the E.U. because it's just too difficult and it get sent
back. So, trading with our biggest trading partners is still really hard.
AMANPOUR: So, what needs to be done? What should happen between --
HAVILAND: We need the Northern Island Protocol --
HAVILAND: -- to be sorted out.
AMANPOUR: But is it -- do you see any hope there?
HAVILAND: I was with the --
AMANPOUR: Is there any movement?
HAVILAND: -- ambassadors of the E.U. last week.
HAVILAND: And there is some optimism.
HAVILAND: There definitely is some optimism that it is moving.
HAVILAND: And that we hope the P.M. can get that, you know, through parliament as quickly as possible, end of this quarter.
HAVILAND: And one that is out of the way, there are a list of relatively easy fixes that the special committees can move on around that rules,
movement of people. You know, we don't have to wait --
AMANPOUR: With European partners?
HAVILAND: We don't have to wait for the 2026 year.
AMANPOUR: So, all the huge, big obstacle to this smoother trade deal is Northern Ireland still?
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, we've talked endlessly on this program about Northern Ireland Protocol. Most people don't get it. We just know that it's
a major obstacle and it needs to be sorted out. And the rule of law needs to be followed, because they did promise the E.U. something about it.
Can I ask you something also about the real human cost? I mean, it is just awful to hear and to read 4 million British children have been, you know,
dumped into poverty. That parents are having to decide, in some instances, whether to heat or to eat, parents having to decide themselves whether to
eat a meal or leave more for their children. It is catastrophic for me to even think that this is happening in a G7 economy. Here's what prime
minister -- Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown told me on the poverty issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORDON BROWN, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Charities in Britain are now running community kitchens, pantries, food banks. We've not got bedding
banks, clothes banks. We've now got baby banks. We got toiletry banks. Hygiene banks. Because charities are having to step in because the safety
net that governments used to provide is withering away. And I'm now seeing poverty in the constituency I represented and grew up in 50 years ago, that
is greater than ever I've seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, it is dramatic. And let's just be absolutely clear, the poverty is showing up in peoples' homes and households where there are two
workers in the household.
AMANPOUR: It's not people of benefits.
FLANDERS: And this is what's changed -- I mean, the nature of poverty has changed. You talk about the late '70s, early '80s. The predictor of whether
you were going to be poor in this country then was if you were old or if you were unemployed. Now, a majority of poor households do contain at least
one worker, because of the way that wages at lower end, which also has been the case in the U.S., have fallen down relative to others.
And I think, it's striking, you know, we say we're a rich country, where a G7 country, but the poorest fifth of the population are now much poorer
here than most of the poorest countries in central and eastern Europe. So, we're not -- there is a big chunk of the population for whom that is not
the case, that they do not live in a rich country. They actually would be better off, even as a poor household, they would be better off in quite
poor countries in European Unions.
So, that is a growing issue, which is -- predates Brexit. But it was hurt by the years of austerity. Money was taken out of, particularly, the areas
in the north and the parts of the country that have now been suffering.
AMANPOUR: Honestly, that's an extraordinary thing. I cannot believe Stephanie has actually said it like that. That poor people here, some of
them, would be better off in poor economies in Europe right now. It is extraordinary and it's actually unacceptable. And many, like Gordon Brown,
call it immoral.
The austerity years, I understand, led to a lack of investment by this country, into the kind of infrastructure and things that everything was
cut, cut, cut, and very little investment. Which has left us where we are now. And interestingly, Rishi Sunak, as I said, promised in his new year's
speech to half inflation and to do all of those kinds of things.
But they say that he never actually laid out a plan. What is the plan to do it? As business leaders, do you see a plan afoot?
HAVILAND: No, there is no long term plan, and we have been asking for that for a while. We -- businesses need a long-term plan. So, they've got some
clarity, some consistency, and they can plan for investments.
Since before Brexit, they have been holding on to their cash because of the uncertainty and the concern, and now, of course, energy prices, you know,
we had a great hospitality business who had planning or ready to build their new kitchen. But they're not going to do it because they're worried
about their cash and they're holding on to it. So, only about 20 percent of businesses are even thinking about investment, and that is an issue.
HAVILAND: And the infrastructure point is really important because investments in infrastructure, the HS2 or nuclear build has a huge
multiplier effect in the local economy. So, Hinkley have 4,000 small businesses and their supply chain around the country, they have 400 in the
local post code. And that transforms local communities, you know, jobs, skills, and a lasting legacy at the capability in those places. So, that
sort of, infrastructure builds and ensuring that you have the supply-- the supply chains, the local supply chains to support them can massively help
FLANDERS: So, you know what, there's a social infrastructure as well, right?
FLANDERS: Investing and training in local institutions. I mean, the money -- the biggest cuts was just the core services of local government and the
support given to whether -- .
AMANPOUR: Like no social --
FLANDERS: -- there's no social care. So, that's why there's no -- hospitals are now finding that, you know, ambulances can't leave people in
hospitals because the bed -- there's no beds. And there's no beds in part because there's no places for the people in hospital to go in the way of
social care for elderly --
AMANPOUR: Can I read you the statistic? I'm glad you brought it up. In December, as many as 500 patients per week in this country, a G7 country
were dying because of emergency room waits. This is according to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. 500 per week. This isn't a country where
everybody looks or the world looks to the NHS. It's such a phenomenal service. The National Health Service. Can it even continue?
FLANDERS: I think -- I mean, the -- we've actually -- we've pointed to one of the issues. You need long-term planning. You mentioned the lack of
negotiation. The willing -- unwillingness of the government to sit around the table with the nurses, with other people who are striking.
When you talk to the nurses, they don't -- they're not just focused on pay and the cost of living, although their pay has suffered over the last few
years. They want a long-term plan for the workforce, because what they're suffering is not just low pay, but an inability to do their job. They're
doing their job of three people, often. The countries got sicker during COVID and there are constraints on supply have been enormous for them.
So, I think, that's -- and it's very hard. We're the best one in the world. Rishi Sunak could be a miracle worker. He has not got a long-term plan
because he's not a long-term government. He's got an election coming fairly soon.
AMANPOUR: So, what? The answer is --
FLANDERS: And he can't --
AMANPOUR: -- to do nothing?
FLANDERS: -- it's very hard to look in the long-term if you've got an election coming around the corner. You are thinking more about staying in.
AMANPOUR: Stephanie, Shevaun, thank you very much indeed.
HAVILAND: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thanks for explaining all this.
Next, to "The Woman King", among several films this year that have focused on women's stories. But few are as extraordinary as this one. The film is
loosely based on the true story of an all-female army taking on European invaders in West Africa. Here's a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An evil is coming. That threatens our kingdom, our freedom. But we have a weapon they are not prepared for.
VIOLA DAVIS, ACTRESS, "THE WOMAN KING": My king, the Europeans wish to concur us. They will not stop until the whole of Africa is theirs. We must
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The movie earned my next guest a Bafta nomination for best director. Gina Prince-Bythewood brought us "The Woman King" and she is now
joining me from Los Angeles.
Welcome to the program.
GINA PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD, DIRECTOR, "THE WOMAN KING": Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: I mean, wonderful film. And I want to start on a little bit of a downer, because many people have noticed that the Oscars failed to nominate
this film in any category. And I think there was quite a lot of surprise given how well it did with critics, at the box office, et cetera. What --
just your reaction to that?
PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: I mean, of course disappointment. Some shock, certainly, many in the industry were not only shocked but angry about it. I think --
you know, the issue, certainly, for me and all those involved is more what it says about the industry, what it says about the academy, the work that
we need to do, the historical dismissiveness of black women and their work and their excellence. So, it -- I think that's what was hardest to swallow.
AMANPOUR: Do you see any -- I mean, I hear what you're saying. And actually, there's been a huge article by "The New York Times" leading, you
know, film critique talking about how well women stories have done in the last year. You know, your film and others, you know, obviously the second
"Black Panther", and many of the ones that are out there right now have done so well.
And women's stories are being taken seriously, because A, they're great, and B they sell, and people go to watch them. And yet, you know, very few,
if any -- I mean, there are any woman directors or anything nominated.
PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: No. No, I don't --
AMANPOUR: So, do you see any progress since you started?
PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: Progress, for me, progress is a consistency. You know, last year we had Chloe Zhao who won, which was beautiful. But it feels more
like an anomaly than a consistency. I think the bigger issue is what happens within our industry. The fact that there are so few female
directors given the opportunity to direct and -- I say it often but, talent has no gender.
It makes no sense why there is such a disparity and the numbers of women directing, and certainly black women. The Annenberg Institute put out a
report about two weeks ago, and we were seven percent of those making movies. That makes no sense.
AMANPOUR: I mean, exactly. So, let's get back to happiest thoughts. The movie is really wonderful and it's extraordinary. And it tells a story that
-- I mean, I don't know many people would've known it. I mean, it's based on a true situation. So, give us and give our viewers, a small precis of
the actual thesis of this film.
PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: Yes, it's such a beautiful thing to be able to tell you a history, to share you a history, and certainly a history that's been
erased. The -- this was an incredible army of women. The only -- actually all-female army at the time, certainly, and on the continent of Africa. And
they were the defenders, primary defenders, of the Kingdom of Dahomey.
At a time where they were at a crossroads of whether they were going to continue with the trade, or else focus on economics like palm oil. And we
specifically said that at that time, to be able to deal with that question, and it is just a beautiful thing to see these incredible women who legit
defended the kingdom, who legit beat men, who had this incredible sisterhood. It was really a beautiful experience to tell the story.
AMANPOUR: So, I'm going to play the first clip that we have. And this is, early on in the movie when the group are returning from battle led by the
great general that Viola Davis plays.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me but I want to see.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The king does not allow us to look up on their gauche (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: She was just so powerful. This is a fantastic role for any actress, you know, and Viola Davis is just so brilliant at it. Was it hard
to actually get that film made? Was it hard to tell that story? Did people even believe it when you proposed it?
AMANPOUR: To Viola Davis and Cathy Schulman and Julius Tennon, the producers, they tried to get this setup for six years before I even came
aboard. And once I came aboard, after that six years it still didn't have the greenlight. It had a home but not the money and the green light to go
ahead and make it. So, it was another year of really putting together an incredible cast and an incredible crew and proving that we can make this
movie on a budget, given that there was no template for a film like this because it hadn't been done before.
So, that's the hardest thing for Hollywood. We speak a lot about wanting original stories, yet people are fearful of that because they can't point
to something and say that has done well. So, that was the beauty of this film, opening number one at the box office, doing so well, we're going to
hit $100 million globally.
PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: It really opens the door in the way that "Black Panther" opened the door for us to be in existence. "The Woman King" now allows
another film like this to be in existence.
AMANPOUR: Yes, that part of it is really inspiring. So, the Dahomey Kingdom, as you know, has a bit of a complicated legacy and history. On the
one hand, they were unbelievable warriors. And on the other, they were responsible, some of them, for selling other Africans to European slave
traders. And there's a whole, you know, you grapple with that. What was it like grappling with that complicated legacy?
PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: It was so important for us, for this film, to be able to dispel so much of the historically inaccurate information out there about
this kingdom, about these women. So, for us, yes, if you go on Wikipedia and you read about this, there are some horrible things written about it.
But what we do, certainly as filmmakers, you do a deep dive in the research.
And we pulled in researchers and academics, ancestors of these women. People from Benin to tell us the history from the right perspective. And
not the perspective of those, the colonizers, who had an absolute incentive to dehumanize this kingdom.
So, what we learned was so countered to that. Yes, they were involved in the trade at one point which is inexcusable. Obviously, we know almost
every culture in the world dealt with slavery at some point. But we said at this time, specifically, when the trade was -- it had actually dropped and
(INAUDIBLE) by 91 percent. There was a definitive shift in both the government and in society to get rid of the trade.
And the women, the Agojie women lead by Nanisca, Viola, they were really at the forefront of pushing the kingdom and their society to move away from
the trade. So, it was great to be able to put that truth into the world, and the truth that so many people don't know about.
AMANPOUR: Yes, and it was very educational. And so, the Agojie, it's also -- and you show it, it's also generational and kind of a sisterhood.
And I'm just going to play this -- yes. I'm going to play this little clip. It's the warrior Izogie played by Lashana Lynch. She gives the new recruit,
Nawi, advice about owning her power.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LASHANA LYNCH, ACTRESS, "WOMAN KING": He wants me to teach you. You are powerful. More than you even know. Do not give you power away."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Talk to me about that. I mean, you made it clear, actually, the hierarchy, even within this group a very powerful woman.
PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: Yes. The sisterhood was something so special about this film and the humanity, that was something so important, certainly for me as
a filmmaker, as a black woman telling the story, for this cast. We wanted to make sure that we didn't just portray these women as, you know, these
badass women that were killing people. We wanted to show the full breath of who they were, the breath of their humanity.
And the sisterhood was a really big part of that, and the teaching and bringing up these young women to live in their power, live in their agency,
know their worth, that was the beauty of this kingdom. These women were revered, as you saw on that first clip, when they arrive home and people
aren't allowed to look at them. The reverence that people had for these women, which is something so many women back then didn't get to feel, and
certainly, it feels like that's a connection that so many women have. They get to see themselves portrayed so heroically, so beautifully, so
honorably, and that is something to us.
AMANPOUR: And, you know, I love the clip that -- or not the clip, the scene that you included, again, about the generational aspect of this and
about the hierarchy and the wonderful general played by Viola and this new recruit. Let's just play this because it's a really classic and good put
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is you who is arrogant.
VIOLA DAVIS, ACTRESS, "THE WOMAN KING": I am a general. I have earned it. You have earned nothing. I should put you out. I have watched soldiers die
because they did not have discipline. Their easy life did not prepare them for --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did not have an easy life.
DAVIS: This is Agojie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did not have an easy life. Please, I want to be with the others. I want to fight for my king.
DAVIS: Your tears mean nothing. To be a warrior, you must kill your tears.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Amazing. I just want to ask you before I ask about her -- directing her and what that was like. I wonder whether you were trying to
show that actually you can't just be entitled. I mean, that's what Viola was saying to the young recruit. Just because you're here it doesn't mean
to say you're going to be a great general.
PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: Yes. I mean, it's -- I love the beauty of what I do because you get to certainly infuse the work with things that you believe.
And me growing up an athlete, so much of who I am is because of that, what being an athlete teaches you, the work ethic, the leaving everything all
out on the floor, the outworking everyone, the desire to be great. Those are all things that this older generation, this battle-scarred warrior
wants to teach these youngsters who are coming in and thinking they're ready to pick up a machete. Now, there's levels to it, not just the
physicality of it, but the mentality of what being a warrior means.
AMANPOUR: Yes, I hear you there. And I want to know what it was like directing Viola Davis.
PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: Well, foremost, she is everything the you would hope she would be. She is such an extraordinary human. But an absolute incredible
talent. She is greatness. And how often do we get the chance to touch greatness. I'm going to be honest, I was nervous at the beginning.
PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: Because I was thinking, how do I direct Viola Davis. What could I possibly share? But what broke down that barrier for me -- and
this wasn't coming from Viola, Viola told me flat out, do not leave me alone. I want to be directed. But what helped me is the physicality. The
fact that Viola was willing to train as hard as I needed her too to do her own fighting and her own stunts. And I knew you how to teach her that
because I've been in the ring. I used to kick box. So, I could tell her what that meant, how you feel before a fight. Bring those aspects to it.
And once I was talking to her like that and seeing her being so receptive, that really broke it down for me. And we had an incredible relationship. To
be literal feet from someone who is doing brilliant work and really this entire ensemble of women who are extraordinary, it was absolutely a gift
every day on set.
AMANPOUR: And just tell me a little bit about your own career and how sport played into it. Because, you know, you talked about being in the
ring, obviously you directed love in basketball, that was in 2000. What -- were you professional? Did you give it up? What was -- where was sport it
in -- you know, in your life at that time?
PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: Yes, sport, my parents put me in sports, and my sisters in sports, when we were five years old, which was an amazing gift for us.
Certainly, back then, there weren't women's leagues like they were now. So, we had to play against boys. We had to prove ourselves. We have to learn to
fight to make our presence known. But it also gave us a belief in ourselves and our talent.
So, I ran track at UCLA, the triple jump. But at that point, I had to make a decision, because I want to get into the film school at UCLA as well and
I realized I couldn't do both. And that this dream of mine of making films was probably more realistic than me getting to the Olympics. So, I gave it
up. And it certainly did feel like a limb missing for a while because it's been such an important part.
But again, everything that sports taught me has given me the stamina to -- you know, to survive Hollywood because it takes a lot.
AMANPOUR: Yes, I guess it does. And good luck and congratulations on the BAFTAS. And the film is really fantastic.
PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: "The Woman King." Thank you so much.
Next, checking democracies path, it still threatened in so many parts of the world by the rise of authoritarianism. Writer Yascha Mounk is known for
his work on democratic institutions and liberal values. In his latest book, "The Great Experiment," he describes ethnically diverse democracies as the
biggest test of our time. He explains to Walter Isaacson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: My thank you, Christiane. Yascha Mounk, welcome to the show.
YASCHA MOUNK, AUTHOR, "THE GREAT EXPERIMENT": Thank you so much.
ISAACSON: We've been going through in the past 50 years a great experiment, in fact, that's the name of your book, something unusual in
human history, which is that nation states, which were generally homogenous, in other words, they had all that diverse, especially western
democracies, be at Sweden, your home country of Germany, England, the United States, had a dominant ethic culture. Now, we're into a great
diversity. There's all sorts of immigration and change, that's called "The Great Experiments" in your book. How is that experiment going?
MOUNK: You're exactly right. So, you know, when you look at countries like Sweden or Germany, they used to be very homogeneous until 30 or 40 years
ago. And then, now, after we start to realize that they've actually become extremely diverse in a very short space of time. They have nearly as many
people, in some cases, more people born outside the borders than in the United States. (INAUDIBLE) always been a diverse nation, but it used to be
a nation of a very steep, ethnic and religious hierarchy, which some people had full rights, full profession (ph), many others were brutally
Now, there are many injustices that remain today, there are many problems that remain today, and we can political challenges that come from that and
part of polarization that comes from that. But what I argue in "The Great Experiment," into my book, is that when you actually look at how difficult
and untaken (ph) this is and how much progress we've made over the course of the last 200, 250 years, we should be a lot more optimistic than we
found (ph) to be feeling.
ISAACSON: We often say that diversity is our strength, you mentioned that in the book. I'm from New Orleans here, and I think of everything we do
here, from the jazz, to the food to the architecture, it comes from 250 years of great diversity. And yet, as I read your book, I realize democracy
aren't really that strong at times at dealing with this diversity.
MOUNK: That's right. So, when you look at diverse societies of any kind throughout history they often went wrong in really terrifying and brutal
ways. They led to war, civil wars, forms ethnic cleansing, forms of genocide. And three big reasons for that. The first has to do with the fact
that human beings are groupish. That we find it really easy to be very altruistic and courageous in defending our own, but can also be very brutal
towards anybody who we think of is a member of the out group.
The second has to do with the fact that not always in history, but often history, the lines of ethnicity, religion, language, culture those were the
things that motivated this in group, out group distinctions of a more diverse in society as the easy it is way to fragment those ways.
But the third has to do with democracy, as we're implying, which that I'm a great believer in democracy and I believe in diversity. But in some ways,
democracy makes it harder because, you know, 500 years ago, if we are living under some monarchy, you didn't have any political power, I didn't
have any political power. As long as we both trusted the monarch who sort of tolerated us, which was true in Baghdad in 19th century or in Vienna
(ph) in the 19th century, it didn't matter if there was democratic change, it didn't matter when there's new people coming into society, it didn't
change the relations of power.
In a democracy, we're always searching for majorities. And so, when people think, hey, I used to be in the majority, but now, suddenly, this other
group, you know, has more influence coming or perhaps has matured, you know, I might lose that majority. Everything might change, I might lose my
power, I might lose my status in society, and that elicits a lot of fears. And we can see that in rise of rocking (ph) populism and a lot of the forms
of politics we've been chronicling in the United States, in many other countries around the world over the last 10 or 15 years.
ISAACSON: Yes. Democracy seems to be really endangered now, throughout Western Europe, sometimes in the United States. Is it because of a populist
backlash against immigration?
MOUNK: That is one of the reasons. I don't think is the only reason. It has to do also with the rise of the internet, you know, social media. It
has to do with economic stagnation and the living standers of ordinary citizens.
I think in the part, being self-critical, you and I as sort of members of elite just by virtue of being on television and talking about these topics,
I think often has to do with, you know, people out at social circles being a little bit out of touch with the rest of the country and trying to
perhaps impose our preferences, our ideas about the world, not always listening to the -- just not always listening to feedback. All of those are
But I do think that one important reason is this great contestation of what are the rules of our society going to be like? Is there going to be a
vision for our society in which members of historically marginalized groups feel that they have a full seat at the table, but are being treated as
equals? But also, members of a historical majority, of historically dominant groups, become paranoid about, you know, what's this country going
to look like in 20 or 30 or 40 years. Am I still going to have pride of place in this country as well? That is a great challenge of this moment.
But I am quite optimistic about us being able to create that. I actually think that what we have the foundations for civic patriotism, and I also
think that we have foundations for a cultural patriotism. I think most Americans love their country, agreed -- not ending about politics today but
about some of the fundamental principles and values and documents which would guide our common life.
And I think most of us love the country in its concrete way. Love its cities and landscapes and sites and sound and smells and it's every day
culture, which has become that diverse over the last decade. And with a few exceptions, you know, very small minority of migrants accepted, people love
that about their country and appreciate that about the country.
ISAACSON: You know, the great replacement theory, the sort of theory that non-whites are emigrating and migrating into America, going to replace us,
have done to change our culture, there are a lot of studies saying that that has some gained traction. In your book, you mentioned some studies
that say that has gained some traction. What is your reaction, and how does a diverse democracy deal with something like the great replacement theory?
MOUNK: Yes. What's interesting about the great replacement theory is that it posits this sort of weight intentionality to these democratic changes,
right at saying there's this deliberate ploy by a bunch of people who have decided that want to exchange our population. And when you look at the
history of how our society has become diverse, it's simply not true.
In Germany, where I'm from, the guest work is -- you know, the idea that all the government officials had was, you know, they're going to go home
after three or four years. But what now? The fact is we pay them well, they'll go back home. And that, of course, didn't happen. And so,
(INAUDIBLE) denial for many decades.
In the United States, when you look at the key reform of Immigration Act from the 1960s, which had a big impact on the Roe and diversity in the
United States, people at the time were convinced that it wouldn't have a big impact on the demographic composition of a country. So, you know,
factually, of course, his conspiracy inferior -- of a great replacement is simply wrong.
When you look at the impact it has, I actually think it is a problem of very motivate extremists, but it is not a problem of the majority of the
population. There are some people who really are deeply afraid of these demographic changes, who cannot imagine a place for themselves in the
future in the United States, if it's not a majority white nation.
But that is very thinly a minority of the population when you look at polls. Most Americans do welcome people from different backgrounds and the
country do understand that we are made stronger by having that kind of ethnic and enrich diversity.
ISAACSON: You talk about the polarization based on race. You talk about identity politics being dangerous. Tell me, when people talk about having a
majority minority nation, or the identity politics, how do you press back against that?
MOUNK: Well, so, this idea of the majority minority nation, I think, is really interesting because, in my minds, it is based on a very simplistic
reading of what the sociological reality of our country is, right. It assumes, first of all, that you can easily cleave America into right (ph)
homogeneous block of white people and a right (ph) homogeneous block of so- called people of color.
But there's actually a huge amount of variation within those groups. First of all, the so-called people of color, including many mixed-race people who
may have, you know, three white grandparents and one Latino grandparent, and they don't think of themselves as somehow split down the middle. They
think that they belong to both cultures.
It assumes that in a natural way, you know, Asian Americans or Latinos who have European extraction are always naturally going to go, for example,
with African American. Or best, natural way -- in which these are two mutually hostile blocks. And I think that's a vision of our society that we
should reject. It's cynical. And if it came true, if it came to be true in 2050 that we have these two blocks in population that vote inconsistent
ways, that mistrust each other and so on, that would be a deep failure of in our society in a very dangerous development.
Now, thankfully, for all the negative trends in our politics, all the polarization, all the dysfunctions in Washington, all the worries that I
have about right in populist like Donald Trump, we have actually seen a deep polarization by race in our politics over the past 10 or 20 years.
In 2012, in 2016, if you told me the democratic attributes of the (INAUDIBLE), if you told me about their race, I would have been able to
create very well who they voted for. Today, I can predict that much less well than the past in part because Joe Biden became the legitimately
elected president of his country in 2020 by increasing the share of a white vote relative to Hillary Clinton in 2016. And Donald Trump who was
competitive, came quite close because he significantly increased the share of the vote among every non-white voter groups, particularly but not only
among Latinos relative to 2016.
ISAACSON: There seemed to have a great sort of head snapping change in our democracy between voting for Barack Obama and reelecting him and in a
sense, embracing the diversity of America and then, a reaction that comes with the election of Donald Trump. Why did that happen?
MOUNK: Yes. I think, one simple observation by the like is that Americans often vote for the inverse of the last president. They voted for the
photonegative of whoever the last president was. And if think -- if you try to think of the man who has -- is unlike Barack Obama as possible, you sort
of get to Donald Trump.
But fundamentally, you know, there are is a hardcore of Trump's base which helped win him the 2016 primaries in particular. But I think really is a
very uncomfortable what I call "The Great Experiment," that really doesn't want to live in a diverse nation that actually gives people from different
ethnic groups equal rights.
But when you look at what the great majority of U.S. population, well, that's polarized than we think. And we have opinions that are a lot more
subtle that may appear. Most Americans believe that there is significant discrimination against African Americans, most Americans believe we have a
serious problem with police violence that tied us, not only, but particularly African Americans.
Most African Americans also think that we shouldn't defund the police, and that we need a functioning police force that will actually behave
respectively and protect its citizens. The same is true when it looks to -- when it comes history. In a recent study from Moran Common (ph) has shown
that, you know, Democrats believe, you know, Republicans don't want to talk about slavery, they don't want to acknowledge the evils and parts of our
history. They don't want to talk about the negative stuff at all.
And Republicans think, you know, Democrats wouldn't be willing to celebrate George Washington and think we should be ashamed of being Americans. And
both of those statements are in true. Most Americans believe that slavery was a great sin that we need to teach our children about in school and at
the same time, we can be proud of the very positive aspects of American history and some of the great things we've achieved as a country, those are
not mutually exclusive. We don't have to choose between 1619 and 1776. And the great majority of Americans recognizes that.
ISAACSON: When you're talking about this conflict, this clash between cultures and everything else, one of the antidotes that you described in
the book, I think you call it intergroup contact. There's studies about it that you site. Relationships, and for that matter, marriages between people
in different groups. To what extent is that really growing and is that a factor?
MOUNK: Yes. So, this is one of the things that gives me hope that, you know, there is a research program, a social psychology that's been going
this time for a policy that's going on for 60 years, with thousands of studies, with very, very robust findings which show that when people have
contact (ph) with each other, when they live next to each other as neighbors, when they're in school together, when they work together, when
one support teams together, it has a very significant impact on reducing prejudices about each other.
There is a positive piece of news here, which is that the country is becoming more integrated. That the number of deeply segregated
neighborhoods has been reducing overtime. But it's the country is just becoming more diverse as, you know, the sort of ethnic majority has this
elastic share of a country, it becomes much harder for people to live in these completely monochrome communities, and that is having really good
impact on how people think about each other.
When you think about the change in attitudes towards immigrants in California from the 1990s to today. I think that's a really good sign of
what may be ahead in other parts of a country as well.
ISAACSON: Let me read you something from your book, which sort of an optimistic statement, which is you write, anybody who is serious about
creating diverse democracies, that endure, and thrive, needs to put forward a positive and realistic vision for how this great experiment can succeed.
Tell me how.
MOUNK: Yes. So, you know, the first part of this is that we're always heavily focused on the things that are wrong in our society, right? Saying,
hey, the train came on time today is a boring statement. Saying, can you believe I had to wait an hour and a half, you know, to get in the subway?
That's interesting. So -- and that's heavily because we want to fix that problem when it's there.
We have many problems in our society today. But we also need to be able to assess how well we're doing in a realistic way. And again, when you compare
the Unites States today to what it looked like 100 years ago, to what it looked like 50 years ago, even to what it looked like 25 years ago, I think
it's clearly true that we've made tremendous progress in including sexual minorities, including ethnic minorities, religious minorities in the
country in a much better way than we did in the past.
And actually, living up to the fundamental promise of our constitution, of our founding documents that every American citizen should have the right to
living in freedom and being able to pursue the happiness. And so, the first start to an optimistic vision is to continue being angry about the things
that are wrong, but not to be cynical. To realize that some of our fundamental institutions and principles have helped us strive for a more
perfect union in the past and we need to continue working towards that on the basis of those same values and documents in the future.
ISAACSON: Yascha Mounk, thank you so much for joining us.
MOUNK: Thank you so much, Walter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally, she is the talk of the town and tipped to win an Oscar next month. Michelle Yeoh rose to fame as the martial arts partner of
Jackie Chan in Hong Kong action films. And in her breakout film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." Now, with the 95th Academy Awards just around the
corner, Yeoh is the favorite to take home the top prize for her role in the mad cap sci-fi film "Everything Everywhere All at Once."
She told me why this role means so much to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE YEOH, ACTRESS, "EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL ONCE": You receive scrips. And as the years get bigger, the numbers get bigger, the roles seem
to shrink with that, right? As you, now as a woman, as an aging woman or whatever it, somehow, they start putting you in boxes. And it's always the
guy who gets to go on the adventurer and save the world and, you know, rescue your daughter, and you think, why can't I do that too?
So, it was so overwhelming at that point to get a script that said, you know, this is a very ordinary woman, Asian, immigrant women, who is dealing
with all the problems that we all can relate to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And you can watch that full interview here tomorrow. That's it for now. And if ever missed our show, you can find the latest episode
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Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.