5 May 2009
Africa was known as “The Dark Continent” during the Victorian Era, believed by Europeans to be a land where even the slightest trace of civilization tends to collapse under madness and savagery. It seems especially common for Europeans to assume that anyone who ventures into Africa would then sink into an irrevocable state of delirium. Such notion was amplified by Joseph Conrad, who, in Heart of Darkness, took Africa as a land so free from moral restraints that no civility could stand from being pulverized by its darkness. Blood Diamond, dating a hundred years after Heart of Darkness, presents a different view. Although the film seems to faithfully support the conventional view of Africa as a place that forces its inhabitants into madness, a closer examination of Blood Diamond shows that, quite the opposite of depicting Africa as The Dark Continent, the film actually rebuts the view by emphasizing the underlying grace of the land. Blood Diamond sends out the message that rather then being the other way around, it is the colonizers of Africa who are forcing the continent into its present state of violence and madness. Through contrasting between parts of Africa with assorted degrees of western influence, director Edward Zwick shows that Africa without colonization would be a land of peace and grace. This contrast is established between the depiction of an RUF (Revolutionary United Front) headquarters and an elusive school that lies within the immutable jungles of Africa. Zwick uses costume to represent western ideals brought to Africa through colonization when portraying the RUF headquarters. When Danny Archer first gets off the plane to do business with Commander Zero, the audience is introduced to a group of African teenagers dressed in shockingly familiar looking attires. Indeed Captain Rambo, a member of the RUF, is dressed in no way different from any North American boy. His...