Blood Diamond (2006)

“Blood Diamond” (2006)

Director: Edward Zwick

Writers: Charles Leavitt, C. Gaby Mitchell

Genre: Adventure/Drama/Thriller


Opening the window

I think this is worth watching because something new happened here. Not related to film-making, storytelling or any of those cinematic issues, but because of light and capturing Africa, something the manuals call photography.


I’m trying to get to as much of the work of Eduardo Serra as i can. I do believe we are in the presence of one of the most competent and surprising cinematographer’s of current times. And here he exceeded my expectations, for a film vastly filmed in Africa: the continent always represented a challenge for artists, above all for the matters of light, color and landscape, unique there. In cinema concerns, “Out of Africa” was a bold approach, but in the end very “washed out” and empty of emotion. Riefenstahl, herself a master in film debated herself with this fascination in part of her photographer work. None of these or other work was able to become, to my point of view, interesting enough, comparing to what Africa can offer. Recently, “the constant gardener” raised the challenge and got closer, but it went too much over top (the cinematographer was south American, he mixed the two continents, i supposed). In the end it sounds pretty much fake. Every cinema photography is by definition fake, but it should strike you as genuine.

Serra is Portuguese. Portugal was all over Africa and South America at certain points of history and in the first case until very recently. Maybe that would give a Portuguese cinematographer the balance and distance he needs. Recently, in an interview, Serra was asked, regarding “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, how could he have got that light, so natural, so genuine. He simply answered: “i opened the window.” That’s what he made here. He understood the light in Africa, and put all the artificial means he had to bring that light, as untouched as possible, to cinema. So, the merit of this film is, in this sense, to have opened the window to Africa. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we have, to this point. Until something better comes out, this is Africa.

My evaluation: 4/5 – just photography (and Conelly, great presence, fills her scenes and in addition is beautiful), for all the rest this is a common, even vulgar experience in mass cinema, not worth more than 2 in my scale. If you want something more clever, by someone who cares about film-making, camera-work and storytelling issues, watch “the constant gardener”.

P.S. This one is inserted in the recent tendency for commercial movies to look at humanitarian issues, using entertainment as a channel for “serious things”. I think that’s worth of applause only to the point when this becomes another capitalism global product. this “bono voxization” of humanitarian issues may kill the hole principle of the thing.

This comment on IMDB


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