Critical Mass (2012) - Plot Summary Poster

(I) (2012)


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  • Things aren't looking good for the world's population; as we multiply at an alarming rate there is not enough food, space... or sense. This intelligent film interweaves a fascinating 1960s rat experiment by Dr. John B. Calhoun with a slick snapshot of today's urban jungle.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Critical Mass is a feature documentary about the impact of human population growth and consumption on our planet and on our psychology.

    The film tells the story of the rodent population experiments of Dr. John B. Calhoun, conducted at the National Institute of Mental Health in the United States between 1958 and 1983.

    Dr. Calhoun placed the rodents into enclosures and supplied all the food and water they needed to survive. In these utopian conditions, the rodents bred at a tremendous pace, doubling their population over and over. As the experiments progressed, the behaviour of the rodents began to change dramatically, raising unsettling parallels to the human situation.

    As we explore these extraordinary experiments, more than twenty leading scientists, academics and authors interviewed in five countries provide a comprehensive overview of the present and future challenges in food, water and energy supplies for the human population as it heads for the 9 billion mark by 2050.

    As the world becomes more crowded and resources become more constrained, how do we build relationships and societies which supply our psychological and emotional needs as well as our physical ones?

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