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Bananas!* 2009
Description: Juan “Accidentes” Dominguez is on his largest situation ever. On behalf of twelve Nicaraguan banana workers he is tackling Dole Meal in a ground-breaking legal war for their test of a banned pesticide that was known by the company to cause sterility. Can he beat the giant, or will the corporation receive away with it?
Released: 09 Oct 2009 Director: Fredrik Gertten Writers: N/A Actors: Byron Rosales Romero, Juan J. Dominguez, Duane Miller, Rick McKnight Genres: Documentary, Crime, Drama, History
Trailers and related videos:

See BANANAS!* trailer.

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Bananas!* Reviews:

Attending the 2009 Los Angeles Movie Festival screening of "Bananas!*" was a freaky, surreal experience. This controversial documentary from Sweden almost didn't receive shown at all.For the first time in my movie-going history, I bore witness to an odd set of "rules" which required to be complied with in order for the movie to be exhibited. An agreement between Movie Independent (sponsors of the Los Angeles Movie Festival) and Dole, a corporation featured in the film, forced the Festival to do three things:1) The film was removed from the prestigious Documentary Competition; 2) A lengthy dmca was handed out to all patrons as they entered the theater; 3) Told dmca had to be read aloud to the audience prior to the screening.It was made clear by the LA Movie Festival representative that they "are not eager to be sued." In fact, Dole went to court to file an injunction to stop the movie from being shown. The judge threw it out, telling that she "will not consider any request for prior restraint on gratis speech." Director Fredrik Gertten instantly declared in his impassioned introduction to the screening that he did not endorse the statement of the Festival. This elicited a large cheer from the audience, even though nobody had yet seen the film.So why the controversy? "Bananas!*" documents the history of a lawsuit brought by few Nicaraguan banana plantation workers who were allegedly made sterile by Dole's test of the pesticide DBCP. The Tellez v. Dole Meal trial is considered to be a landmark situation in the history of workers' rights. The lawyer representing the men, colourful Los Angeles-based attorney Juan Dominguez, was soon accused of supporting the plaintiffs commit fraud by lying to the jury. But that finding was made after the movie had been shot, submitted, accepted, and scheduled by the Festival. Therefore, the larger question is not whether or not the farm workers were saying the truth -- but to what extent does a documentary filmmaker have a responsibility to ensure the veracity of his subjects? Is it even required? Or is simply saying the storyline itself worthy of documenting? There is no question that the workers' stories are moving and poignant, nor that some did say the truth, according to the judge who made the decision that fraud had been committed (which now emerged out of a soon case).There is no denying that Dole used the chemical in question -- their own President and CEO admitted as much in court -- even after it had been banned in many countries, and even after being taken off the store by Dow, its manufacturer, for causing sterility. The deplorable working conditions the boys endured are vividly captured by Gertten. And the allegations made vs Dole by the plaintiffs are truly frightening. But this Erin Brockovitch/David vs. Goliath tale is rife with problems surrounding the burden of proof.Is it the job of a documentarian to say the truth? Or to simply observe? That became the topics of a panel discussion after the film's screening, not whether or not the situation itself was important. And that's a shame.


As most folks who have seen it or will see it know, Dole place a law-suite on the filmmaker. It started an immense fuzz in Sweden, with boycotts from hamburger and supermarket chains, not to talk about the common consumers. After a while Dole dropped the case. Did they really think they would receive anything but bad-will from acting the method they did? And how is the movie? It's effective, merciless and quite exciting. Not at least the scenes from the courtroom. Is it objective? No, according to old documentary traditions, it isn't. It's part of a debate and if you're vs that, you really have to explain your views on democracy.And Dole really has to check the competence of those who work in their marketing department.


Juan "Accidentes" Dominguez is on his largest situation ever. On behalf of twelve Nicaraguan banana workers he is tackling Dole Meal in a ground-breaking legal war for their test of a banned pesticide that was known by the company to cause sterility.The movie was criticized by Dole for containing "patent falsehoods". Following an attempted lawsuit and attempt to block the film, the lawsuit never went through and the movie was shown -- even debuting at the Swedish parliament! Further, an investigation of misconduct vs Dominguez found nothing. Vindicated? I think so.While this is not the nice documentary about South American workers trying to victory judgments from American companies, it is necessary to see the pattern and the slow, steady rise of social justice. Between this and "The Coca Cola Case", it makes for a nice double detail on what can be done.



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