Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bananas - Movie Review

After a long time I laughed like crazy and almost fell off the chair when I saw the translator scene in 'Bananas'. Woody Allen makes such a farce of the banana republics and what happens there and what the USA does with them in his own inimitable way. Woody was young (this is a 1971 movie) and at his cynical and satirical best. He has his usual problems of feeling inadequate, being dumped, having a job he does not like etc.

Fielding Mellish, the person who is used to test new products (exercising office chair, electrically warmed toilet seat) is not happy with his job. He also has no love life. But he meets an activist who is collecting signatures to help overthrow an armed coup in San Marcos a neighboring banana republic and hits it off with her, even joining protests etc and almost getting killed. But she soon discards him saying something is missing. Distraught Mellish heads off to San Marcos on his own. there he meets the new and broke President (Woody has to pay the bill for an official state dinner with his credit card) and survives an assassination attempt on himself (by the President's men armed as rebels because the president wants to get money from the USA to fight the rebels who killed an American citizen). But Mellish is saved by the rebels led by  Fidel Castro lookalike. In the rebel army Mellish grows and when the rebels come to power, they replace the growingly arrogant and drunk-with-power Castro look alike (who starts making some crazy laws like people wearing underwear on the outside) with Mellish as President. Mellish goes to USA in a thinly veiled disguise (you must see that disguise) and it is when he descends the plane that the incident with the translator happens. As the Secretary of State speaks in perfect English, the translator translates it to Mellish in an accented voice, Mellish replies in perfect English, which is then translated again in English until some people come and take that guy away. Never have I laughed so much in recent years.

Anyway President Mellish tries to raise money and fails, meets the old activist girl friend and again reignites old passions. When he reveals that he is in fact Mellish in bed, she cries - Oh, I must have known. Something was missing. Anyway Mellish is found out and there is a crazy court case where Mellish successfully defends himself and finally gets married to the activist.

It's a crazy, crazy movie and one would want to watch movies like this. I can watch it again and again. And that scene from the translator makes me laugh even to think of it.

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