Food giant goes bananas

Documentary film presented by OPEN CINEMA eyes worker exposure to pesticides

Swedish filmmaker Fredrick Gretten takes on Dole in Big Boys Gone Bananas!*.

The banana is a fruit of iconic proportions. Its peel has inspired laughs. It denotes a less-than-stable human state of mind and we’re convinced it’s the preferred food of our closest genetic brothers and sisters, the great apes. But like all things in our globalized world, icon creation is almost always connected to cash generation . . . and the banana is no exception.

Big Boys Gone Bananas!* is a documentary that chronicles the fallout from Swedish filmmaker Fredrick Gertten’s first film, Bananas!*. The documentary follows the trial of Dole — the most profitable fruit manufacturing company on earth — in a suit filed by Juan Dominguez on behalf of a dozen Nicaraguan banana workers exposed to banned pesticides. It should be noted that bananas are the most profitable of all fruits and Dole is raking in around $7 billion each year.

As we come to learn, they’re also a corporate bully. When Gertten was about to show Bananas!* at the LA Film Festival, the full court press brought by the food giant was comprehensive. They pressured the film fest to ban it, they planted news stories about the films illegitimacy, and they even sent individual letters to everyone in the Swedish parliament reprimanding the filmmaker.

Gertten and his movie played a small part in Dole’s attempts to fry a much bigger litigative burden mounting against them: discrediting Dominguez and the banana workers suing them. What is perhaps most frightening is just how far a corporate giant was able to reach into the lives of private citizens across political boundaries.

Join OPEN CINEMA and guest speakers Rob Wipond (Focus magazine), UVIC Environmental Law Centre’s Chris Tollefson, and Peter Golden, human rights lawyer and founding member of the Central American Support Committee, along with MediaNet executive director and moderator Peter Sandmark for a post-film discussion. Livestreaming on the OPEN CINEMA website:, virtual guests include filmmaker Fredrik Gertten from Sweden, along with Victoria-born co-producer Bart Simpson from Brazil.

Twitter: #opencinema at 8:30pm. Doors at 5:30pm at The Victoria Event Centre, (elevator access). Contact: Mandy Leith: or  250.882.7441. M


Open Cinema

Big Boys Gone Bananas!*

Wed., March 20 at 7pm at the Victoria Event Centre (1415 Broad).

$10-20 suggested donation at the door

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