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The Constant Gardener and Blood Diamond are examples of the evolution of film in Africa. The films both reference the African environment, landscape and quest for African resources. Cinematography is used in a way that captures the beauty and horrors of Africa. Yet, both films pay homage to the uneasy coexistence of Africans at the time as well as the violence and corruption, all part of the multifaceted nature of Africa.
In Blood Diamond, the protagonist, has been disempowered by the minority and the antagonist is drawn into guide Solomon to restore the destruction caused by the persecutors. this becomes the foundation to the theme of violence present in this film. As the two protagonists journey to regain possession of the diamond and save Solomon’s family, the audience is exposed to slave labour, illegal trade and child soldiers. The inhumane treatment lies at the fore-front of this film and has a traumatizing effect on the audience.
Blood Diamond, depicts the brutality the poor Africans were subjected to acting as a non-monetary slave to the violent oppressors. The disturbed sounds in many scenes set an image of the corrupt nature of Southern Africa. Zwick uses over the shoulder high-angle shots to show events which take place from the perspective of the onlooker. Furthermore the high angle technique disempowers the civilians.
Edward Zwick uses painful sound effects, dark shadows and perplexed facial expressions, allowing the viewer to better grasp the chaos and uncertainty that takes place within the illegal diamond trade of Sierra Leone. The tribal music and drum beats, establish the region and culture of the setting, along with the gunshots, which represent the danger of the situation. Blood Diamond is emotionally powerful. The audience is given an insight into Southern Africa as this film adds a sense of realism into the African culture as it is based on real events.
The Constant Gardener is set on two continents, Africa and Europe. These continents are highly contrasted. The purpose is to evoke thoughts from the audience about the inequality between the two continents. This contrast is shown through the natural lighting, vibrant colour and happy, positive atmosphere in Africa. This showcases the realism of Africa and the Africans humble nature. Furthermore this is compared to the artificial lighting, sombre colours and dark atmosphere in Europe showing the rigidity, power hungry nature behind the Europeans.
In The Constant Gardener, Justin is a timid character who plays a civil servant. His facial expressions show the depth of pain and strength of his character. Justin’s body language is blank and distant making him oblivious to the corruption occurring around him. Ultimately Justin takes his own life which mirrors the theme of violence. The point is made that the poor are constantly the victims of violence. The Constant Gardener depicts the gap between the rich and the poor and the lengths to which the mighty will go to cover up entities that can result in any undesired repercussions.
The Constant Gardener uses editing techniques to switch from flashbacks to reality. The flashbacks are illustrated with bright lights. This is representative of the happiness and hopeful atmosphere shared between the two protagonists as their love for each other grows.
The Constant Gardener and Blood Diamond are well suited to altering the preconceived perceptions of Africa. The progress of equality after the Colonial Era is symbolic of the evolution of film. As an audience, these films realistically depict the hardships of Africans and effectively enlighten the viewer to the historical background of Africa. The themes embedded in both films- impact of colonialism, violence and corruption- mirror contemporary Africa.
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