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The Constant Gardner -Theme . QUEST FOR THE TRUTH. Overview of Justin’s Quest . Tessa’s death – Justin returns home and discovers secret box. . Talks to Ghita about Tessa’s report on Dypraxa. . Finds Dypraxa box with ‘Wanza Kilulu’ and Sandy’s love letter. .

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The Constant Gardner -Theme

QUEST FOR THE TRUTH


Overview of justin s quest l.jpg
Overview of Justin’s Quest

Tessa’s death – Justin returns home and discovers secret box.

Talks to Ghita about Tessa’s report on Dypraxa.

Finds Dypraxa box with ‘Wanza Kilulu’ and Sandy’s love letter.

Finds Kioko and reads his card that shows he is being treated with Dypraxa.

Talks to Kenny Curtis about report and to Tim, the spy.

Finds no paitient and post-mortem records of Wanza.

Returns to London to have lunch with Pellegrin asks what he did with Tessa’s report.

Talks to Ghita – finds out Arnold is gay.


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Meets Ham and Guido finds out about ‘marriage’, KDH and Green Hippo.

Goes on car ride with Kenny and finds out where Wanza is buried.

Talks to Tim about not giving up his quest.

Goes to Tessa’s flat to have a cry and think of Tessa.

Goes to see Dr Lorbeer in Sudan and receives Pellegrin’s letter and finds out he told hitmen about Tessa’s location.

Returns to Kenya on “safari tour” to talk to Sandy about report and affair.

Goes to Berlin via subway and meets Birgit(?) asks “Just... a few questions” on Dypraxa testing.

He is waiting to be killed at Lake Turkana to be home with Tessa as the letter he sent was read at his funeral.


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Start of Quest Green Hippo.

  • After the police searches Justin and Tessa’s home after her death.

  • Justin searches the home to see if the police had taken anything.

  • Justin is looking through Tessa’s secret box he found hidden in a cupboard under some clothes. Close up in and out of focus on important clues in the box from over Justin’s shoulder. Close ups on ‘Wanza Kilulu’ and ‘Dypraxa’. Shows the viewer they are clues to the secrets.

  • Voiceover – Sandy’s voice speaking of his letter of ‘undying love’ to Tessa as Justin searches through Tessa’s things and finds out about Tessa’s apparent affair with Sandy “by chucking in your ridiculous sham of a marriage, as I will mine”.

  • Dark lighting as Justin searches the house - ‘in the dark’ about Tessa’s secrets.

  • Justin begins to put together clues as there is a close up on the Three Bees logo on Dypraxa and pesticide (which Tessa previously got angry at).


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Middle of quest Green Hippo.

  • HAM’S FLAT / computer with Guido

  • It is revealed that Tessa did not cheat on him (CU: email – “I made a vile promise”)

  • We learn about KDH – who they are, their role, Pellegrin’s involvement (photo)

  • CU on Tessa’s email print out: “I got a love letter today from a 5 star creep”,

  • CU on computer screens – revealed information in a very efficient manner


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End of Quest Green Hippo.

  • Justin arrives at Sudan via a food-aid plane as “Robert Black, freelance journalist”. Journalists also do what ever they can to get truth.

  • Finds out that Dr Lorbeer “was supposed to provide the missing clinical data” for Tessa’s report and he had testified to tape.

  • Justin’s questions about the truth are asked in a very rushed situation as they pack to run from the raiders to the plane and answers are given quickly to maintain the thriller genre.

  • Justin – “But someone knew exactly where Tessa and Arnold would be.” Close up on Lorbeer to see emotion, “That was me. I radioed Nairobi.” Reaction shot of Justin looking emotional. Lorbeer gives letter.

  • Justin - “Well, I- I wouldn't be alone for long” as there is a close up on Tessa’s photo in wallet.

  • Justin – “Do you think you could post that envelope for me? It's quite urgent”. Fast cuts to Justin’s funeral “flash-forward” and ______ speaks as voiceover while Justin sits and waits at Lake Turkana. Ham reads out letter as voiceover also while montage of Africa suffering – to not forget what story is really about.

  • Justin - “I know all your secrets, Tess. I think I understand you now. You want me to come home. But I am home.”


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Random Relevant Quotes/Techniques Green Hippo.

  • Ghita – “Something we shouldn’t be seen talking about.” Justin – “Dypraxa.” Ghita – “What makes you think I know?”

  • “But Justin I wouldn’t bother looking for it”- (Tim?) Talking about Tessa’s report on Three Bees.

  • Editing – fast cutting between each clues e.g. Justin’s talk with Ghita quickly crosses to Kenny on golf field talking of pharmaceuticals.

  • Birds-eye view on Justin searching through the printed off clues spread over a circle table with one overhead light shining on the table – coming into light?

  • “Stop now or get what your wife got” Close up on message as Justin shows Ham.

  • “I have to finish what she (Tessa) started“- Justin

  • “Poor fellow seems to have convinced himself there was a conspiracy against Tessa” – Sandy?

  • Pan on Green Hippo on wall to connect with image on computer as Justin is in Germany.



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Sandy and Tessa Green Hippo.

  • Means: Tessa promises to sleep with Sandy

  • End: She gets to see the letter from Pellegrin so she knows what happened to her report on Dypraxa.

  • Music is slow, creepy and quiet as they talk

  • When she promises to sleep with him the music builds suspense/warning music

  • Sandy’s face is half dark and half light and when he gets closer to Tessa you can only see his dark side.

  • When they kiss both their faces are dark.

  • Dark shows ‘vile promise’ Tessa makes and has ‘absolutely no intention of keeping’.

  • She says herself ‘and the end that justifies my means?’ in her letter to Ham.


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Dypraxa Green Hippo.

  • Means: Fixing trials, killing many people

  • End: A semi-cure for TB

  • Birgit- ‘Yes it cures, but it can also kill because they haven’t got the formula right yet.’

  • ‘It’s cheaper to fix the trials.’

  • Lorbeer- ‘Disposable drugs for disposable people.’

  • Sandy- ‘We’re not killing people who wouldn’t be dead otherwise.’

  • ‘Pellegrin said the report was too damaging. She had to be stopped.’

  • Justin- ‘Oh yes, she was stopped’

  • Justin does not believe that taking Tessa’s life was justified by the British coming out looking wonderful. A very dark scene.


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Other examples Green Hippo.

  • Kioko walks a long way to the hospital ‘to keep the flies of his sister and the baby’ and also walks all the way to Tessa’s grave to place a letter there. His intentions certainly justify his means.

  • Justin nearly misses the plane by holing back Lorbeer to get the report an letter off of him. He wants justice or truth.


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Metaphors of Green Hippo. The Constant Gardner

  • Metaphors are used either visually or through dialogue, lighting and sound technique to convey messages (of his personal life and the human tragedies occurring relating to Kenya) throughout Justin’s journey in the ‘Constant Gardner.’ These metaphors are linked either directly or indirectly with the film’s title and even more so with Justin’s passion for gardening and Tessa’s, his murdered wife, passion for justice to be served in Africa, which is being used as a guinea pig to Britain’s big-time pharmaceutical companies.

  • The most blatant example of a metaphor would be the figurative and literal definition of ‘gardening’ expressed in the film, especially when Justin is watching an old video of Tessa and himself being intimate—Tessa lovingly comments: “He’s dreaming of a world...without weeds.” This comment can actually be taken in either sense; that Justin is literally de-weeding his garden, carefully and gently, or that Justin is weeding away the woes of the world, dreaming of a world free of political corruption, again carefully and gently—true to his nature as a diplomat.


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Metaphors Continued: Green Hippo.

Visual implications of ‘gardening’ and ‘weeds’ are also bound to Justin’s journey, such as his own grave, which is shown briefly to be a garden, and the shots of scenery to display the ‘world’s garden’—Africa, being used as an experiment to launch Britain’s stock-market sky-high, much like the footage shown of Justin growing plants, carefully handling each as an ‘experiment.’

Techniques used to incite these conclusions include the using shots of poverty-stricken Kenyans lining up in a crowded market to receive Dypraxa, a developing drug to treat TB with disturbing side effects—and also choosing to show how the young children are treated, often being left behind to fend for themselves.

Near the end of the film, two children are chasing a camera and trying to get in its optical range by giggling and giving a ‘thumbs up.’ This naive albeit sunny-optimism is mirrored in their eyes, and by having the camera look DOWN on them, emphasizes their vulnerability. Even more so when sharply contrasted with the cold, bleak scenery of the British airports and railways, where only old men in suits are shown with their faces half-shadowed.


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More Metaphors Green Hippo.

The title IS a metaphor in itself: Justin and Tessa are, essentially, the Constant Gardeners, though Justin only picks up his role after Tessa’s death; and constant gardener’s continuous weeding goes on until the big weeds (ThreeBees, KDH) are finally eliminated via the legal system.


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