Thursday, July 23, 2009

'A Blooming Business' Movie Review

Last Friday I went to the much anticipated Wellington Film Festival screening of the documentary 'A Blooming Business' which according to the advance publicity, hoopla, and ballyhoo is supposed to be a hard hitting documentary on the Dutch owned flower growing industry in Kenya. This movie goes nowhere near documenting reality and is more of a casual interview with people that are reported to be involved in the industry in one form or another, sprinkled with 'hearsay'.  Fluctuating between occasionally being interesting, to the repetitiveness of a worker walking past some greenhouses, chatting about what goes on in the industry, other people catching buses at dawn or dusk or queuing outside some farm gates. The only view of the real workings of the industry is when a worker risking his job smuggles a video camera into one of the farms but the footage regrettably lasts only for minutes. 

The Director called this a poetic documentary, yet in the end credits there is a dedication to the people who became unemployed because they cooperated with the making of this film, now you would have to agree that is a hell of a price to pay for participating in something that did not change the lot of the workers involved in the Kenya Flower industry.

The subject matter does have a lot of going for it, and whilst I am certain that the implied problems do exist within the Flower growing industry in Africa, the problems deserve to be tackled hard and highlighted and when so many other documentaries are making the same point about the poor conditions of workers in Africa a great deal better, 'A Blooming Business" just doesn't make the cut and is best described as just plain clumsy.

  Definitely gets my pick as the winner of the "2009 RETURN TO THE DIRECTOR AWARD"



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