The banana as we know it is quickly marching toward extinction, thanks to inbreeding at the hands of big agribusiness. But don’t worry — after watching this documentary from Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten, you’ll never want to eat a banana again.
Bananas!* opens with a funeral and gets only grimmer from there, as it follows a 2007 lawsuit against Dole Food in which Nicaraguan workers allege that a Dow Chemical pesticide used by Dole made them sterile. (Other health problems — kidney failure, spontaneous abortion, skin diseases — are suggested as well.) Playing David to Dole’s Goliath, personal-injury lawyer Juan “Accidentes” Dominguez teams up with Duane Miller on behalf of 10,000 workers who’ve reported injury, and a chilling courtroom drama commences.
The slow-burning Bananas!* doesn’t shower us with sparks of outrage — instead, it smolders, with shots like the grainy training-video clip depicting a barefoot, harnessed field hand hauling fruit across a muddy clearing like a human mule.