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CONSTANT GARDENER (article first published : 2007-07-4)

Constant Gardener, directed by Fernando Meirelles, is a movie to be shown on M-Net this month starring Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Danny Huston, Bill Nighy and Pete Postlethwaite.

When Justin and Tessa meet at a lecture in London, the sparks fly at once. He’s a reserved British diplomat working in Kenya; she’s an outspoken activist with questions he can’t answer. They fall in love, marry and go back to Kenya, where her questions don’t stop.

When she travels inland with a black doctor, he thinks nothing of it – until he gets the news that she has been murdered, along with her companion. Stunned, Justin starts asking questions of his own. Fearing that Tessa, whom he hardly knew, may have been having an affair, he starts looking in her files and correspondence.

What he discovers makes for disturbing reading: Tessa was investigating links between big drug companies and the unexplained deaths of villagers. Justin’s search for answers takes him to London, Berlin and back to Africa, where he speaks to people in and out of government who all warn him to back off. The more he learns about Tessa’s work, the more he realises just how much he loved her. So when the forces he’s pursuing finally close in around him, it is almost a relief.

This acclaimed film, based on the novel by John le Carré, is a deeply moving love story, told mostly in flashback. It’s also a thought-provoking thriller that poses intriguing questions about the role pharmaceutical giants and governments plays in Third World countries. Nominated for scores of awards, including four Oscars and three Golden Globes. Rachel Weisz won a best supporting actress Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award.




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