At first glance, ‘Bananas!*’ seems like just the latest in a long line of agit-prop docs warning consumers off their favourite foodstuffs. Opening scenes of desolate Nicaraguan villages and downtrodden workers only reinforce this impression. Then we’re introduced to Juan J Dominguez, a sparkly-toothed LA legal eagle who drives a Ferrari, has a bust of Caesar on his desk and speaks passionately of his feelings towards ‘the little guy’, and matters become more unpredictable. Essentially, ‘Bananas!*’ (there’s no clue given as to what the asterisk signifies) is a David and Goliath legal drama, following Juan and his colleagues as they bring a case against food giant Dole for the mistreatment of Nicaraguan workers in the late ’70s. It’s a low-budget, off-the-cuff affair, relying largely on grainy court footage and to-camera interviews, and is probably better suited to TV than the big screen. But there are moments of real suspense, and the film’s intentions – to publicise the still-raging workers’ battle – is a noble one.
Friday April 16 2010