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The Constant Gardener

The film, The Constant Gardener, is an adaption of a novel by the British writer John le Carré. Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles said that the opportunity to take on the pharmaceutical industry was one of a number factors that compelled him to direct the film, as well as the opportunity to shoot the film in Kenya.

The Constant Gardener - book

The Constant Gardener (2005) is a conspiracy thriller, criticizing the involvement of a large pharmaceutical company in testing drugs in Africa. However, it is also a passionate love story.

Pre-reading task:

Read the following lines from the film. How would you answer Tessa? The people she refers to are in a desperate situation and they are poor.

Justin Quayle: We can't involve ourselves in their lives,

Tessa. Tessa Quayle: Why?

Justin Quayle: Be reasonable. There are millions of people, they all need help. It's what the agencies are here for.

Tessa Quayle: Yeah, but these are three people that we can help.

The Constant Gardener by John le Carré

Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes), a British diplomat, finds his wife Tessa (Rachel Weisz) murdered and seeks to uncover the reasons behind her death. In doing so he discloses high level corruption between goverment officials and multinational companies. On his quest to unveil the truth, Justin realizes that he really didn't know the woman he married and that the people he trusted shouldn't be.

Working with the First Chapter of the Novel

The Constant Gardener - From Chapter One

Read from the first chapter of the novel. As you read, write down the names of the characters and the jobs/positions they have. Afterwards you could write a summary or take on the slightly more challenging task of answering the questions below.

  1. The story is told from Sandy Woodrow's point of view. What do we get to know about him?
  2. What has happened to Tessa Quayle and Arnold Bluhm?
  3. What were Tessa and Arnold doing by Lake Turkana?
  4. When talking to Sandy, Wolfgang, the owner of Oasis, says: "Listen, I'm Galileo. Put me in prison, I'll swear she never came to the Oasis." What is implied here?
  5. What impression is given of Tessa?
  6. How does Sandy react when he hears that Tessa has been murdered?
  7. How does Justin react when he is informed about Tessa's death?
  8. How is the theme of gardening introduced literally? How can gardening be understood figuratively?
  9. What are we told in flashbacks?
  10. How does the writer create suspense in this chapter?
  11. How is this chapter dealt with in the film? Which adaptations have been made? Make a comparison.

Working with the Trailer

Watch the trailer for the movie and answer the questions below.

The Constant Gardener
  1. How does the opening scene comply with the rest of the trailer?
  2. What impression do you get of Justin?
  3. What do we get to know about Tessa?
  4. Why do you think Tessa has been murdered?
  5. Compare the way village people are portrayed to the way Britsih diplomats are depicted in these clips. Pay attention to filmatic devices in your comparison.
  6. Justin says that the pharmaceutical industry is "right up there with the arms dealers." What does he mean?
  7. "Some very nasty things live under rocks, especially in foreign gardens." How do you understand this quotation?
  8. Why do you think the film is called The Constant Gardener?

Working with the Film

Film Education has developed a study guide offering background tasks and research opportunities for The Constant Gardener. See The Constant Gardener - Study Guide .

Making a Difference

The Constant Gardener raises issues regarding how large multinational companies, "Big Pharma", test and sell drugs in the Third World. Is this an issue that concerns and engages you, or do you have a different cause worth fighting for? Discuss with a friend and share your ideas in class. Explore how you can use social networking to promote your views and gain support of your cause. What kind of social media do you think would be most suitable? Explain why. If you have time, try it out.

A funny example of this kind of marketing is Alexis Ohanian: How to Make a Splash in Social Media . Watch Mister Splashy Pants rise to Web stardom.

Learning content

Global Challenges

What is core content and additional content?
SubjectEmne

Fagstoff

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    A New World Order

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Global issues in an African context

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Unemployment and Unrest in Developing Countries

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Humanitarian organizations

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    The UN Declaration of Human Rights

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Child Soldiers

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Climate Change and Global Warming

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Dumping Toxic Waste Abroad

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Plastic Waste

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Global Marketing and Brand Building

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Multinational Corporations

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Crossing Dangerous Borders

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Fundamentalism and Totalitarianism

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Terrorism - a Violent Alternative

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Micro-voluntarism and International Cooperation

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    The Moment Before the Gun Went Off (Short Story)

  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Frog Pond (Short Story)

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Frog Pond - Introduction

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    Poor Koko (Short Story)

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    The Sun in My Eyes (Short Story)

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    The Leaving (Short Story)

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    The Bastard of Istanbul - a Novel by Elif Sharak

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SubjectMaterialFagstoff

    "A Long Way Gone" Ishmael Beah

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
SubjectEmne

Oppgaver og aktiviteter

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Child Soldiers – Tasks

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    The World We Create

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Tasks for Micro-voluntarism

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Prepositions - crime

  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Frog Pond - Tasks

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Frog Pond - Quiz

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Poor Koko - Multiple Choice

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Poor Koko - Multiple Choice

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    The Bastard of Istanbul - Tasks

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • TasksAndActivitiesOppgaver og aktiviteter

    Togo’s National Football Team Attacked by Gunmen

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
SubjectEmne

Kildemateriale

  • SharedResourceDelte ressurser

    The Moment Before the Gun Went Off

  • SharedResourceDelte ressurser

    Poor Koko

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SharedResourceDelte ressurser

    The Sun in My Eyes - Plain text

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • SharedResourceDelte ressurser

    The Leaving

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
SubjectEmne

Ekstern læringsressurs

  • ExternalLearningResourceEksterne ressurser

    Useful links to resources

    Additional content is a subject that is not on the curriculum
    AdditionalTilleggstoff
  • There is no core content available for ekstern læringsressurs.