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Last Supper for Malthus

Klaus Pas 2009

With 1 billion of the world’s population going to bed hungry, Last Supper For Malthus sheds light on one of the most prevalent and alarming issues of our time, the global food crisis. The film goes beyond focusing on some of the most controversial issues today including changing diets, climate change and the use food for fuel, and considers the effects of the worst global economic crisis seen in over 80 years. A leading and up-to-date reference work on the food crisis, “Last Supper For Malthus” is unique it its presentation of long-term feasible solutions.


  • « The International Community is now facing a triple crisis: a development emergency, the global food crisis and climate change. »
    Ban Ki-moon
  • « To fill up the tank of car that runs on ethanol (around 50l), you need to burn 354 Kg of corn. With these 354 Kg of corn, a child living in Mexico or Zambia can feed itself for a whole year. It is therefore a crime against humanity. »
    Jean Ziegler
  • « It is not a matter of population. It is the population and the tools it uses to be able to be more productive and more effective. And this is through technology and through investment. »
    Jacques Diouf
  • « Here we are at this wold historical moment, for the first time, over half of the world’s population live in cities. They don’t produce food. They’re dependent on someone else. »
    Gary Howe
  • « Man is an animal. A vice-ridden animal, but luckily so, for were he not, he would over breed himself out of existence. » Rev. Thomas R. Malthus
    Rev. Thomas R. Malthus
  • Interview
    Why did you make this film?

    In 2008, when I started doing some research with Adrian Westbrook, who wrote the film with me, the food crisis was in every newspaper and in the streets all over the planet. It was not just and African problem anymore, as I naively believed before that. I guess it is curiosity that made me ask myself how we got there.

    Very quickly, Malthus’ theory and its applications came to mind. So I decided that the film would start with his angle of an “unavoidable famine”.

    In directing « Last Supper for Malthus », what were the difficulties?

    At first, I thought it would be hard to show such a dense subject – the global food crisis – in both a condensed and balanced way. Traps were laid: too many leads to follow, too many face to show too many very precise cases.

    The key point was the relationship between agri-economics and the human side of agriculture and hunger. How should one introduce a Senegalese farmer trying to make it to Europe and the excess if European agricultural subsidies at the same time, while allowing the audience to find its right place even when those problems seem so indirectly linked to them?

    The round table imposed itself as the engine of thought. Malthus and his contemporary, Ricardo would have to guide us into this agricultural maze and rebound on the observations of the different experts.
    Moreover, there is no absolute answer in this film. For, as Malthus points out, agriculture is cyclical and man will therefore live accordingly.

    Which message would you like the audience to walk away with?

    I personally hope that viewers will come out with several messages rather than one. But if I had to pick one in particular, it would certainly be the one of a fast changing world. Look where we came from since 1989; it is now impossible to think without keeping count of China and India, who together represent 37% of world population. If our global model takes the road of capitalist democracy, what will we still be able to decide in a few years from now? What seat will we have at the last supper?

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