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// Films // A Blooming Business

A Blooming Business

Ton van Zantvoort / Pays-Bas / 2009 / 52 ' / Anglais - Swahili / S.T. Anglais


Ton van Zantvoort
Ton van Zantvoort
Roy Bemelmans
Ton van Zantvoort

Links & Reviews

Awards & Festivals

2009, Documentary Festival Thessaloniki
2009, International Film Festival Breda
2009, Green Film Festival, Seoul
2009, Newport International Film Festival

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In Production

The people behind the flowers purchased in Europe live in poverty in Kenya


A rose is a rose is a rose, unless it's a toxic offshoot of international corporate corruption. Director Ton van Zantvoort's unsparing portrait of the dirty reality of the flower business, may make it impossible for you look at a flower in quite the same way again. A quietly formidable film, A Blooming Business focuses on three different individuals, who make their living in the vast flower plantations that cluster thickly on the shores of Kenya's Lake Naivasha.

Jane, Kennedy and Oscar are each trapped in different ways by economic desperation. Drawn by the promise of a job, Jane moved to the area, only to find the reality of work in the flower plantations to be little more than slavery. After working a 16-hour day, she makes porridge for her children and leads a solemn prayer before bed. Kennedy, reliant upon a good catch, heads out to fish the waters of Lake Naivasha every morning, but toxic runoff from the factory farms has disrupted the spawning beds and resulted in an ever-decreasing supply. Oscar, an itinerant water salesman, knowingly sells water polluted by the toxic runoff. International flower companies deny their practices have resulted in disability and disfigurement for their workers--a disavowal shown for a lie by the secretly filmed footage of toxic chemicals being sprayed a few feet away from women wearing no protective gear.

Van Zantvoort's film brings a depth of poetic image to endemic horror and exploitation. But the thing that most endures is the extraordinary dignity of the individuals depicted, who simply want honest work.