Film Archive

International Programme 2012
Big Boys Gone Bananas!* Fredrik Gertten

A small film company’s almost hopeless battle against the Dole food corporation. The connections between consumption, freedom of opinion and democracy as a thriller.

Big Boys Gone Bananas!*

Documentary Film
90 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Margarete Jangård, WG Film
Fredrik Gertten
Conny Malmqvist, Dan "Gisen" Malmquist
Frank Pineda, Joe Aguirre, David McGuire, Malin Korkeasalo, Stefan berg, Kasia Winograd, Sasha Snow, Terese Mörnvik
Jesper Osmund, Benjamin Binderup
Charlotte Rodenstedt
Fredrik Gertten
Alexander Thörnqvist
In 1989, when a whole nation "was gone bananas”, the banana was regarded as the ultimate symbol of the good life in East Germany. The freedom of unlimited consumption seemed to go hand in hand with the freedom of speech and the arts. Frederik Gertten is about to teach us about the real link between bananas and democracy.
In his last film Gertten proved that their cultivation on Nicaraguan plantations owned by the Dole food corporation is extremely harmful to the workers. Before the opening of that film, the filmmaker got a 200-page letter from the corporation trying to stop the screening. An unprecedented campaign – documented and retold by Gertten in this film – begins. A small, independent production company stands up to a big player who seems to be able to buy, manipulate, threaten or even destroy at will everything and everyone from the legal system to the L.A. Film Festival, from the press to the whole Internet. An uneven, practically hopeless fight against a power that dwarfs even George Orwell’s imagination.
Only when the civil society in the shape of the Swedish parliament and a handful of enlightened consumers begins to understand that responsibility for the freedom of opinion and the arts cannot lie solely with the individual artist but is a good everyone must defend does the case take an unexpected turn, which – don’t we know it – has something to do with banana consumption...
– Grit Lemke