Fredrik Gertten's delight at being invited to premiere a film at the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival was short-lived. The Swedish documentarian's "Bananas!*," chronicling a legal fight by Nicaraguan workers against Dole over pesticide use, would soon be embroiled in its own legal battle.
Gertten and his four-employee company spent the next half-year wrangling with one of the world's largest multinationals over the right to show the film. His new documentary, "Big Boys Gone Bananas!*," follows the events of those six months from the point of view of a David facing a lawyered-up Goliath.
The relentlessness of corporate might is disturbing but no surprise; "Big Boys" is, however, an eye-opening look at the way the U.S. media fell lockstep behind Dole's claims.
Calling the film false and defamatory, sight unseen, Dole sent cease-and-desist letters to the filmmakers, the festival and its sponsors (which included The Times). Under threat of lawsuit, festival organizers pulled the doc from competition and screened it, bizarrely, as a "case study," essentially questioning its veracity.