We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Victory, setback. Victory, setback. And so proceeds Big Boys Gone Bananas!*, Swedish director Fredrik Gertten’s documentary about the legal nightmare he experienced trying to get his previous documentary, Bananas!*, onscreen. The doc, about a lawsuit brought against Dole Food Company by 12 Nicaraguan plantation workers, was to be shown at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2009. Then Gertten received a cease-and-desist notice; soon thereafter, the festival told him it would not present the film at all, and then that it would, but not in competition. Also: A disclaimer would have to be read before the screening citing Dole’s issues with the film, namely that the lawyer who represented the workers was convicted of fraud, and therefore Gertten’s doc was untrue. Big Boys Gone Bananas!* tries to proceed as a thriller, with twists at every chapter. (See: “Victory, setback.”) But somehow its freedom-of-speech juiciness has been sucked dry, made dull with such not-very-deep insights as “Money talks” and, as a journalist said of the festival screening, “It was weird.” Not weird enough to make this David vs. Goliath story worth watching.