A Dutch filmmaker risked his life to make this punchy and disconcertingly beautiful doco exposing exploitation and ecological disaster behind the Kenyan flower industry that supplies Europe with roses.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2009
Many of the roses that brighten the homes and work places of Europe are air-freighted from Africa. Dutchman Ton van Zantvoort was making a doco about special needs children in Kenya when he met Jane, the mother of two such children. Van Zantvoort was moved by her appalling circumstances to look into the wider social impact of the nurseries in Naivasha where she worked, and which are among Kenya's biggest employers. Keeping Jane's life central, he also talks with other workers, several of whom risked their lives to secretly film working conditions. Meanwhile, any traditional inhabitants of the land whose lives haven't been subsumed by the rose plantations struggle to feed themselves from a lake diminished by diversion to the nurseries and polluted by chemical usage. The special power of van Zantvoort's film lies in his illumination of the experience of those at the bottom of the heap. Though he describes himself as a poet, not a journalist, he too risked his life to expose the violence inflicted on them by their conspicuously unfilmable exploiters. — BG