×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Big Boys Gone Bananas*!

A David-and Goliath story that delves into corporate scare tactics, legal effrontery, brand protection, media manipulation, online propagandizing and craven behavior.

With:
With: Alex Rivera, Bart Simpson, Charlotte Lundgren, Dan Koeppel, David Magdael, Dawn Hudson, Fredrik Gertten, Margarete Jangard. (English, Swedish, Spanish dialogue)

A David-and Goliath story that delves into corporate scare tactics, legal effrontery, brand protection, media manipulation, online propagandizing and craven behavior, “Big Boys Gone Bananas!*” relates the story of Fredrik Gertten and the persecution of his 2009 film “Bananas!*” by Dole Foods. Crazy title and urgent message will likely get auds to forgive Gertten’s occasionally self-congratulatory tone and failure to mine the obvious humor in his own ordeal; proximity to U.S. elections will make the docu particularly pertinent, especially for politically minded viewers.

In 2009, Gertten, a Swede, brought his expose, “Bananas*” — about a lawsuit brought by workers against Dole for its use of banned pesticides in Nicaragua — to the Los Angeles Film Festival and, according to the current docu, watched objective journalism and moral courage dissolve before his eyes. After Dole claimed the movie was defamatory and threatened to sue, the festival took “Bananas*” out of competition. A cover story in the Los Angeles Business Journal toed the Dole line, as did public radio station KCRW and other L.A.-based media outlets, deriding the film without having seen it, according to “Big Boys.” UCLA law professor David Ginsburg wrote a supporting document for Dole that compared “Bananas*” to anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda. The festival finally agreed to screen the docu, but only after then-festival director Dawn Hudson read a statement that essentially threw the movie under a bus.

Gertten doesn’t present himself as an anti-corporate crusader: Being in the crosshairs of a multinational company left him at risk, based on what he could lose personally, with “Bananas!*” trapped in litigation limbo. “Big Boys” asks why the media took Dole’s side. Although their testimony sometimes causes the eyes to glaze over, various American and Swedish journalists, PR experts and Web-based propagandists line up and weigh in on exactly how a company like Dole gets others — including journalists, professors and festival boards — to do their dirty work.

What is shaping up as a losing proposition for Gertten is turned around only because Swedish parliamentarians on both sides of the aisle are so outraged by an American company’s attempt to quash a Swedish film that they take bipartisan umbrage. A burger chain in Sweden stops selling Dole products. A supermarket chain drops them, too. Individual consumers use their economic clout to force a corporation to act like a human being. The lasting legacy of “Big Boys Gone Bananas!*” may be that viewers never look the same way again at online reviews, business journalism or purportedly objective chat.

Tech credits are perfectly adequate.

Big Boys Gone Bananas*!

Sweden

Production: A WG Films presentation in association with SVT and Film i Skane. (International sales: Autlook, Vienna.) Produced by Margarete Jangard. Executive producer, Fredrik Gertten. Directed by Fredrik Gertten.

Crew: Camera (color), Frank Pineda, Gabriel Noguez, Jason Wawro, Joakim Demmer, Joseph Aguirre, Kiki Allgeier, Malin Korkeasalo, Sasha Snow, Stefan Berg, Anna Sivertsson, Basia Winograd, Christian Sparkes, Desh Ferando, Devin Doyle, Doug Gritzmacher, Einar Arnason, Emma Svensson, Terese Mornvik, Tobias Lilja, Tomas Kurkinas, Tomas Ramanauskas; editors, Jesper Osmund, Benjamin Binderup; music, Conny Malmqvist, Dan "Gisen" Malmquist; sound, Bart Simpson, Ebbe Gertten, Emma Svensson; sound designer, Alexander Thornqvist; line producer, Jade Fox. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (World Cinema -- competing), Jan. 20, 2012. Running time: 89 MIN.

Cast: With: Alex Rivera, Bart Simpson, Charlotte Lundgren, Dan Koeppel, David Magdael, Dawn Hudson, Fredrik Gertten, Margarete Jangard. (English, Swedish, Spanish dialogue)

More Scene

  • Speaker of the United States House

    Nancy Pelosi, Ava DuVernay Honored at VH1 Trailblazers Event

    Cher is feeling a little better about what’s happening in Washington, D.C. “When I see Trump spew his hate and tell his gazillion lies, I get pissed off and feel uneasy at the same time,” the Oscar winner and frequent Trump critic said on Wednesday while introducing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at “VH1 [...]

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • Kate Bosworth'Nona' film premiere, New York,

    Kate Bosworth Helps Launch Campaign for Female Filmmakers

    In her 20-year career in Hollywood, Kate Bosworth has starred in blockbusters like “Superman Returns” as well as indie darlings like 2014’s “Still Alice.” But the actress has always had a desire to get more involved from the ground up. Now, she is partnering with Women In Film and Chloe Wine Collection to launch the [...]

  • Amandla Stenberg and Sofia CarsonVanity Fair

    Oscar Week Kicks Off With Vanity Fair's New Hollywood Party

    The night was definitely still young Tuesday at Vanity Fair’s New Hollywood party in Los Angeles. The magazine kicked off Oscar week with a party — the first of its three-event Campaign Hollywood series — at Ysabel in West Hollywood to celebrate new and emerging talent. More Reviews Film Review: 'My Extraordinary Summer With Tess' [...]

  • Oscars Ultimate Party Guide

    Oscars Ultimate Party Guide 2019

    Welcome to Oscar week. It’s the time of year when Hollywood’s film industry celebrates all things movies. But it’s certainly not just the big show everyone is looking forward to. More Reviews Film Review: 'My Extraordinary Summer With Tess' Film Review: 'Ghost Fleet' With voting closed, it’s all about the parties now. Who’s doing what [...]

  • Yalitza AparicioTeen Vogue Young Hollywood Party,

    'Roma' Star Yalitza Aparicio, 'Central Park Five's' Jharrel Jerome Sound Off on Trump

    Yalitza Aparicio recently reunited with Alfonso Cuarón, who directed her in “Roma,” for a W magazine photo project that featured her standing at various barriers built at the border between Mexico and the United States. The message? “You can make a name for yourself despite the differences,” Aparicio told Variety on Friday at Teen Vogue’s Young [...]

  • Karl LagerfeldChanel Paris-Londres 2007/8 Show, London,

    Legendary Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

    Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion icon – and iconoclast – who outfitted and photographed such stars as Nicole Kidman and Lady Gaga, has died. He was 85. Lagerfeld died in Paris, fashion house Chanel said. Although his health had been failing, he kept working up to his death, issuing instructions regarding Fendi’s fall ready-to-wear collection, which [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content