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Ekatja Mhill
Ekatja Mhill

The Constant Gardener

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The Constant Gardener

A master chronicler of the deceptions and betrayals of ordinary people caught in political conflict, le Carré portrays, in The Constant Gardener, the dark side of unbridled capitalism. His 18th novel is also the profoundly moving story of a man whom tragedy elevates. Justin Quayle, amateur gardener and ineffectual bureaucrat, seemingly oblivious to his wife's cause, discovers his own resources and the extraordinary courage of the woman he barely had time to love.

Justin's quest to find Tessa's murderers takes him on a complicated journey fraught with mystery and danger. He meets with Ham (Richard McCabe), his wife's cousin in England, and receives some help from a young computer wizard that tracks down critical information on the Internet. In Germany, Justin is beaten viciously and realizes that this conspiracy has so many players that it will more difficult than he thought to get to the bottom of it. After returning to Kenya, the diplomat keeps discovering more information about the circles of deceit surrounding Dypraxa. In a telling scene, he has traveled to a remote village where food is being distributed to starving Africans. A marauding force of vicious men on horseback gallop through the place killing men, women, and children with wild abandon. The point is made that the poor are constantly the victims of violence, whether their oppressors are global corporations or murderous bands of tribesmen. They are viewed as worthless commodities by their own country's leaders and by the other governments who have no qualms about making a profit on their suffering, especially if it means jobs and political capital at home. The Constant Gardener is a watershed work that exposes the shadowy parameters of a new war that is animated by corporate greed and political amorality.

Ralph Fiennes said of his character: "Justin is a passionate gardener. There's an internal quietude about gardeners, this sensitivity to watching something live and grow, and caring about how something will flourish and bloom. To me, that was all key to Justin. Why does he marry someone as opinionated and passionate as Tessa I think they're drawn to one another because opposites do attract."

A private house in a Nairobi suburb was used as the home of Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes) and Tessa Quayle (Rachel Weisz). It belonged to the mother of film's wardrobe supervisor, Elizabeth Glaysher, who grew up there. Her mother, Sonia, had once before worked on a film shot in Kenya; she was Ava Gardner's body double in John Fords Mogambo (1953). Sonia's gardener, Celia Hardy, was the "gardening coach" for Ralph Fiennes. With the exception of some flowering plants added for color and texture by the production design crew, Justin Quayle's on-screen garden was the result of Celia's year-round handiwork.

As in Kenya's Kibera, in Loiyangalani in Kenya, a welcoming community and the constant companionship of dozens of friendly, fearless children made for an unforgettable work experience for those who were there. Between takes, star Ralph Fiennes and two of the other actors were frequently obliged to ask for their set-side chairs to be vacated by local children, only to have the kids settle into their laps and perch on the arms of their chairs.

The synopsis of this movie's source novel "The Constant Gardener" (2001) by John le Carré on his personal website reads: "Tessa Quayle has been horribly murdered on the shores of Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya, the birthplace of mankind. Her putative African lover, a doctor with one of the aid agencies, has disappeared. Her husband, Justin, a career diplomat and amateur gardener at the British High Commission in Nairobi, sets out on a personal odyssey in pursuit of the killers and their motive. His quest takes him to the Foreign Office in London, across Europe and Canada and back to Africa, to the very spot where Tessa died."

The Constant Gardener is a magnificent exploration of the new world order by New York Times bestselling author John le Carré, one of the most compelling and elegant storytellers of our time.The novel opens in northern Kenya with the gruesome murder of Tessa Quayle -- young, beautiful, and dearly beloved to husband Justin. When Justin sets out on a personal odyssey to uncover the mystery of her death, what he finds could make him not only a suspect among his own colleagues, but a target for Tessa's killers as well. A master chronicler of the betrayals of ordinary people caught in political conflict, John le Carré portrays the dark side of unbridled capitalism as only he can. In The Constant Gardener he tells a compelling, complex story of a man elevated through tragedy, as Justin Quayle -- amateur gardener, aging widower, and ineffectual bureaucrat -- discovers his own natural resources and the extraordinary courage of the woman he barely had time to love.

Dunnett grew up in the Lakewood neighborhood of Long Beach. Her lawyer mother was the family gardener; her aerospace engineer father was in charge of irrigation. After graduating from the University of California, San Diego, Dunnett studied medicine at Harvard.

The director wisely avoids the clichà of hammering us with shot after shot of the victims of the cruelty of pharmaceutical economics. Instead, the story remains centered on our constant gardener, Justin, and his relentless search for facts. He cannot bring back his beloved wife but, hopefully, his effort will help him understand and appreciate the cause for which she died. 59ce067264


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