Canada, Switzerland | 2017 | 183 min | English, French, Chichewa, Hindi | Director Attending
In a mind-boggling paradox, three quarters of the earth’s malnourished inhabitants are themselves food producers. This epic, impressionistic documentary examines the mechanisms by which the world’s farmers are falling into a tragic cycle of despair, debt and dispossession. Part cinéma vérité , part essay, it casts a critical eye over our economic systems and the special role Switzerland plays in the state of global agriculture, as the seat of prominent agro-chemical corporations and the hub of the international food market. The film also follows the migration of agricultural workers from their farmlands to dystopian urban settlements. Shot in India, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Switzerland, Brazil and Canada, The Dispossessed features both stunning cinematography and fascinating interviews. It was followed up this year by a companion piece, Dispossession.
Montreal-based filmmaker Mathieu Roy studied at the New York Film Academy and Canada’s National Institute of Image and Sound. His works include the documentaries François Girard’s Three-act Journey (2005), La Peau de Léopard (2006) and Surviving Progress (2011). In 2013, he released his first fiction feature, Another House — a family drama about Alzheimer's disease. Since 2015, Mathieu has been documenting the work of director Martin Scorsese, for whom he worked as personal assistant during the filming of The Aviator in 2003.
Outlining his thoughts on The Dispossessed and the global farming situation, he says, “There is hope and spirit in the ongoing struggles but I disagree with many — they are being naive in their thinking that the governments will be on their side. Governments are now under complete corporate control and agro-business is a huge thing, of which farming and farmers are only one part. It’s a huge monster with many heads.”