About the film

Juan “Accidentes” Dominguez is on his biggest case ever. On behalf of twelve Nicaraguan banana workers he is tackling Dole Food in a ground-breaking legal battle for their use of a banned pesticide that was known by the company to cause sterility. Can he beat the giant, or will the corporation get away with it? In the suspenseful documentary BANANAS!*, filmmaker Fredrik Gertten sheds new light on the global politics of food.

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One third of the production price of the average banana is used simply to cover the cost of pesticides1. All over the world, banana plantation workers are suffering and dying from the effects of these pesticides. Juan Dominguez, a million-dollar personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles, is on his biggest case ever representing over 10,000 Nicaraguan banana workers claiming to be afflicted by a pesticide known as Nemagon. Dole Food and Dow Chemicals are on trial.

Burial
Byron burying his father Alberto Rosales

Another banana worker is being buried in a small northern town in Nicaragua. For his whole life, Alberto Rosales used his machete to remove weeds from below the banana plants. His son says his last years were filled with pain, a body that was itching all night — and in the end his kidneys stopped working.

Inside the church, filled with friends and family, Father Bayardo begins his sermon. It’s not about Alberto Rosales after awhile. It’s about pesticides. Father Bayardo is accusing landowners and US transnationals of immoral practices which he says cause the death and suffering of many members of his community.

Banana worker
Workers at a banana plantation

The whole region of Chinandega is an ecological disaster zone. The pesticide spray has left its mark everywhere. The soil, the water, the animals, the food of the people are all affected. The level of pesticides in breastmilk is 700 times higher than is acceptable2. Some say it will take 200 years for the ground to heal itself enough to produce natural crops again.

One of the pesticides, a DBCP-based compound called Nemagon, was banned in the USA in 1977 for causing male sterility. Standard Fruit—now Dole—continued to use the pesticide in its plantations outside the USA up to 1982.

Enter Juan Dominguez.

Dominguez, a personal injury lawyer and a member of the “Million Dollar Club” of attorneys in Southern California, is making history. As the legal representative of over 10,000 Nicaraguan banana workers, he is the first attorney ever to force American corporations to take responsibility for actions they have done outside US borders.

Juan Dominguez
Juan Dominguez giving a speech in Estelí, Nicaragua

This case has been followed by experts and companies all over the world.  If Dominguez is successful, it could rock the economic foundations of Dole and Dow, and would open the US courts to other global victims of US-based multinationals.  It would represent a new day in international justice, and there are further cases of a similar nature coming up next in many jurisdictions.

Accidentes billboard
Juan Dominguez billboard ad

More stills from the film »


References

  1. Anne Vézina quoted in Banana drama by Robin McKie, The Guardian, May 21, 2006.
  2. Marianela Corriols (PAHO/WHO) interviewed in Nuestro veneno de cada dia, documentary, 2005.

70 Comments

it’s all rhetoric without data. Lets see the facts before making accusations.

This comment was registered before we opened the website. Before there was a trailer to watch. The facts in the film are all from the court case. Please come and see the film and make up your own mind.

This film sounds utterly intriguing. We can’t wait to see this.

I agree - very interesting - look forward to seeing it

Now that the court case has been dismissed and Dominguez charged with fraud what will happen?

Hi Adam, the film still has its premiere in Los Angeles in June. Dominguez has been called to a court hearing on June 15. More updates on this will be published soon.

The article is usefull for me. I’ll be coming back to your blog.

I really like your post. Does it copyright protected?

We are interested in presenting this documentary on Nicaraguan T.V. Is this possible?

To obtain more information about our news magazine show, please visit our website, http://www.estasemana.tv.

Our show is called Esta Semana and is directed by Carlos F. Chamorro.

I look forward to your response.

Camilo de Castro
Journalist
Esta Semana

Having spent a lot of time in Nicaragua living in community with the people there this is one example of what corporations have done around the world.

These workers have organized to fight this poisoning of themselves, their land, their food, and especially their families and loved ones. These people gave more than an honest day’s work for almost no money at all, but that is another injustice. Now everything living in their world has been poisoned.

Dole should be ashamed. Yes one person may have testified he or she is not fertile because of pesticide exposure and that one person may not be truthful. Could this person have been infertile due to other causes and not know it? But I have seen these workers. One person is not everyone and there is no doubt in my mind as a trained biologist that pesticides have poisoned these workers, their families, animals, water, and ecosystems in an incredibly wonderful culture and country.

Sincerely,

Jean A. Douthwright

PS. The television program “Esta Semana” is the Nicaraguan television equivalent of CBS News’ “Sixty Minutes”. Esta Semana is extremely respected by most Nicaraguans.

There are some companies that I just dont by products from. Big monney do not care about people or the enviroment.

I’m wondering since it says they stopped using the chemical over 20 years ago what are they using now? And does it have any effect on the people who work there now?
I know these multi national companies have reeked havoc on the environment for years and the people and animals that live in these environments and they just seem to change from one bad whemical to another without any care as to the harm done.

Where can I buy a copy? I was guilty of transporting Chiquita bananas by ship for United Fruit Company before I found out how they treat their workers. I must see this film, which , by the trailer, seems powerful.

The question is, is it right to show a fraudulent documentary that unfairly libels a multinational company and is it worth the time viewing a film you know is based on lies?

The star of the film attorney Juan J. Dominguez is under contempt charges for defrauding a California court in the case this film is about. The case was tossed out…..

‘Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney, in a 60-page ruling dismissing two pending lawsuits, said attorneys for the Nicaraguans engaged in a brazen scheme to recruit men who had never worked on banana plantations, train them to lie on the stand and fabricate medical evidence to back up the claims.’ From the L.A.Times http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jul/09/entertainment/et-dole9

That doesn’t change the facts.
The pesticide was banned in the U.S. for its deadliness.
Dole used the same pesticide in a foreign country.

I appologies as a westerna consumer to the people who have been hurt. Im sorry for our negligence.

I saw the documentary film last night and I must say - I’m fuming with rage towards DOLE for the simple fact they KNOWINGLY continued using a pesticide in Nicaragua that was banned in the USA for being classified as dangerous and hazardous. That alone clearly indicates how careless and inconsiderate this corporation was/is to the well being of its plantation workers. May justice be served for the banana workers of Nicaragua!

I want to watch the video BANANAS!, where can I get it?
thank you.

Hola, me gustaria ver el documental, Sale en España ?

I am studying the banana trade, and this would be extremly useful with work to do with pesticides. I also find it shocking on a personal level. Where can i get this to watch?

Hi Tom!
Check out the screenings list here:
http://www.bananasthemovie.com/screenings

Or pre-order the DVD here (release: December 9th):
http://www.bananasthemovie.com/pre-order-the-bananas-dvd

So, if I donate some, can I download this movie somewhere?

i do not know, but thanks anyway!

you know i could go for some a pie

:-)

=(

=)*

I was wondering if there is anyway I can watch this movie in Canada?

How can i download it?

Thank you Senor Domingues for taking a stand! I too lived in South America on and off for 5 years and met many people whose bodies are suffering because of pesticides - it is despicable to see how the ‘big’ international companies values money more that human lives. Justice will be done!

I just saw this documentary tonight as it was aired on Swedish TV. I lived in Nicaragua about ten years ago, and when I saw this movie it just broke my heart. I have heard about the use of pesticides earlier, and therefore I am taking a personal stand and have been buying only environmental friendly or Fair Trade bananas for quite a while now. Thank you very much for a very good movie Fredrik Gertten! I also wish to congratulate Mr Dominguez for defending the rights of the banana-workers and their families. Keep up the good work, let justice prevail!

http://svtplay.se/t/129797/dox

Here u can watch the movie!

Saw it on TV yesterday. Really interesting. Highly recommended

Where may I get the “Bananatron feat. Timbuktu” song? besides, an excellent movie..We live in a sick world, and yes, I’ve stopped buying bananas.

i am looking for a good personal injury lawyer near the san francisco bay area. can anyone give suggestion?-`:

I have a webpage about bananas, which describes how the two US farm barons have wrecked the economy of 4 small island nations in the East Caribbean by exploiting undervalued currencies and cheap labour in Central & South America.
You may care to add a link or banner to this on your BANANAS!* website.
http://www.dominica.nu/Bananas.html

The DVD came out in Canada in July, published by Mongrel.

I’m not quite certain if i completely agree on this but i assume there is a reason for this

when will the film be available in central america?

mynor from nicaragua

Sorry Mynor, you just missed the October screening in Managua!
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=157480947606790&ref=mf

Is there some ban or standing lawsuit that prevents viewing or purchasing a copy of this movie in America? I can’t find a functioning site to buy or watch this movie.

there is great money involve when we talk about personal injury, attorneys make great money out of them too `~’

I traveled to Nicaragua a few years ago on a trade union delegation. we met with the Dole workers who had set up a protest camp outside the government buildings. the had been there for months and were managing in pretty terrible conditions, many of them ill. but it was obvioulsy worth it for them to make there point and not get left ignored. Im really glad this film was made to tell their story.

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Fredrik, u did it.. yeah u did it. efforts by few people like u can make great changes. its hard to stand against such corporate giants but u did it. brave piece of work..

American here - Can’t wait to see the film - POWER TO THE PEOPLE ! ! ! KEEP EXPOSING THE TRUTH ! ! !

BTW - Just seen News about this film on Al-Jazeera - I can’t see many USA News talking about it…….

Does anyone know if there’s a link where you can view this online in Canada?

There are some interesting time limits in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There is some validity however I’ll take maintain opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish extra! Added to FeedBurner as properly

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I “found” the film at PirateBay, you are true heros standing up to the big corporations of the world. Just donated SEK 200, nut much but I hope it helps.

[...] http://www.bananasthemovie.com/about-the-film [...]

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[...] the film BANANAS!*, twelve Nicaraguan banana plantation workers are suing Dole for concealing the dangers of a [...]

[...] released “Harbour of Hope” (Sweden/ Denmark/ Norway/ Poland/ Germany), the controversial “BANANAS!*” (Sweden/ Denmark/ Finland/ Germany/ USA) which was shown at more than 100 festivals, the award [...]

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Very good, I hope this will start a movement to limit the power of multinational companies.

Amazing film! I been to Nicaragua and many people can tell you about their experience working for the banana industry! you guys are heroes!!! Thank you for standing up!

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[...] la premsa escrita), quan el periodista suec Fredrik Gertten va presentar el seu documental Bananas!*, on explicava la història dels treballadors guatemalencs que quedaren estèrils a causa dels [...]

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