AfriGeneas Africa Research Forum
Blood Diamond : a film
Edward Zwick gained fame for creating TVís thirtysomething and then moved to the big screen to tackle historical events in Glory and The Last Samurai. Now he turns his attention to recent headline news for Blood Diamond (opening December 8 throughout San Diego), a story about the illegal diamond trade in Africa.
Edward Zwick, a white American filmmaker, has told the story of black soldiers led by a white officer during the Civil War in Glory, and later focused on a white American leading Japanese warriors in The Last Samurai. Now Zwick looks at recent history in Africaís Sierra Leone with his film Blood Diamond in which he offers up the black and white acting team of Djimon Hounsou and Leonardo DiCaprio in a kind of revamping of the Sidney Poitier-Tony Curtis pairing in The Defiant Ones. But while The Defiant Onesí used a pair of black and white prisoners on the run and bound by handcuffs as a means of exploring racial tensions of the late fifties, Blood Diamond surveys hot button international political issues by serving up a white and a black man bound together by the pursuit of a large diamond that could be each manís ticket to freedom.
Set in Sierra Leone, the film shows the atrocities committed by both those in power and those rebelling, and the poor people caught in between. Solomon Vandy (Hounsou) is one of those Africans caught in the crossfire. Vandy is forced to mine for diamonds by the guerrillas who need the gems to finance their war. By chance, Vandy finds a large diamond that he manages to hide from his captors during a military attack. Both Vandy and the guerrillas land in jail where Danny Archer (DiCaprio), a mercenary dealing in illicit diamonds, also happens to be cooling his heels. While in jail, Archer learns about Vandyís hidden treasure. Archer then manages to get both he and Vandy out in the hopes of getting his hands on the stone. Vandy sees the diamond as the only means he may have of finding his missing family and buying their freedom. Archer, on the other hand, has more selfish ambitions and sees the diamond as his meal ticket out of Africa. Archer proposes that the two men join forces in order to head back into the dangerous territory where the stone is hidden. Along the way they hook up with Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connolly), an American journalist who wants to write an investigative piece about blood diamonds in the hopes that she can make a difference in the world. Now the three head off to the jungle with mercenaries, guerrillas and the government in hot pursuit.