Critical Writing Index

When the Story Changes: Battle of Wills and Bananas!* are two documentaries that haven't wrapped up conclusively

by Maurie Alioff

POV, Spring 2011, no. 81, pp. 35-37

This article discusses two documentary films which lend themselves to sequels, due to their charged resolutions. Bananas!* (2009), directed by Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten, "recounts the story of Nicaraguan banana plantation workers who claim that in the 1970's, exposure to the dangerous pesticide DBCP made them infertile." Alioff 36. The doc takes on an essayistic approach, which is responded to strongly by Dole themselves, resulting in larger complex legal conflicts.

The article goes on to discuss Quebecois filmmaker Anne Henderson's Battle of Wills (2008), which follows the story of Lloyd Sullivan of Ottawa, a retired Bell engineer in his quest to prove that a picture passed down from his Grandmother, is the only known portrait of William Shakespeare, that he had posed for while he was alive. The doc follows this battle for acknowledgment, with the picture having passed multiple scientific examinations, still rejected by English critics and academics, allied with London's National Portrait Gallery.

Both docs, summoning follow-ups, demonstrate the contemporary documentary's abilities to arouse discussion and continue to exist as visually stimulating and thought provoking communicators.

ITEM 2011.024 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

Bananas!*Fredrik Gertten

Battle of WillsAnne Henderson