Bananas Fredrik Gertten

Bananas Fredrik Gertten
Now, the slant of Bananas is quite obvious, given the evident liberal documentarian conceit of championing the underdog and challenging evil corporations that exploit the working class and/or the environment. Back in the late '70s, Dole was using pesticides on their bananas that caused sterility. Once this was learned, the American government banned its use in countries like Nicaragua and Costa Rica, halting Dow Chemical production. The assertion made here is that Dole and Standard Fruits continued to use their remaining stock on the crops, causing sterility in a handful of Nicaraguan labourers. While exploring this issue and uncovering a web of conspiracy, giving people some money for their suffering so they can buy a TV or some fancy shoes, is one thing, this documentary is trapped in a cycle of talking heads, which, again, is fine, but unfortunately, these talking heads are mostly lawyers. Because Fredrik Gertten is so preoccupied with making a humanist story of social relevance, editing in images of archive footage during courtroom closing arguments, the actual absurdity and arbitrary nature of the lawsuit in question is left unchallenged. The lawyer representing the good people of Nicaragua is Juan J. Dominguez, one of those trashy American accident attorneys that claim to look out for people that can't defend themselves while chomping on a cigar and driving around in a snazzy sports car. Since he's the voice of the documentary, and subsequently the voice of the sterile men suing Dole, he's painted as some sort of saint, with his proud voiceovers carrying images of him looking pensively into the horizon. Meanwhile, his response to the verdict is to run to a calculator and ensure that it will be spun as a win for him in the media, never really mentioning any of the victims. Even the ridiculous leading courtroom banter is presented as is, and taken seriously, with dramatic slow motion and touching music, even though it does little more than clarify why and how the judicial system is retarded. No supplements are included with the DVD, which is understandable, because really, what else is there to say? (Mongrel Media)