FROM THE FAVELAS TO NAIROBI: Fernando Meirelles and The Constant Gardener

fiennes-weisz

Near the end of the closing credits to The Constant Gardener, the following dedication appears on screen: “to Yvette Pierpaoli and all other aid workers who lived and died giving a damn.” Pierpaoli, a friend of the novelist John le Carré, was working on behalf of Refugees International when she was killed in Albania in 1999. So moved by Pierpaoli’s rigorous commitment to helping the poor obtain food, money, and shelter, le Carré took from her example several qualities in fashioning Tessa Quayle, the martyred heroine of his 2001 novel. The setting becomes Kenya, and Tessa, an idealistic young Englishwoman devoted to improving healthcare for impoverished Africans, gets in the way of a pharmaceutical company that brandishes the Orwellian-sounding motto, “The world is our clinic.”

Continue reading “FROM THE FAVELAS TO NAIROBI: Fernando Meirelles and The Constant Gardener

Advertisements