Apparently, some people are upset that Blood Diamond gave a negative portrayal of Sierra Leone.
I think it’s ridiculous for people to argue over whether or not the movie is positive or negative. The themes of the movie—war, violence, amputation, exploitation—are negative so it’s ineviatable the movie will be negative. But banning it!!?? That’s just dumb. That would be like Germans calling for every Holocaust film to be banned because it’s negative.
What bothered me about the movie is the fact that it wasn’t even filmed in Sierra Leone. Most of it anyway. The beach bar scene was not filmed at the beach in the capital, Freetown. The cast was not even Sierra Leonean: their accented Krio was a dead giveaway, as was their accented English. Sierra Leoneans don’t roll their Rs the way East and Southern Africans do. Also, there are no cheetahs in Sierra Leone, and the fishing village in the opening scene was obviously somewhere in Eastern Africa. Sierra Leonean fishing boats are large, dug-out canoes that are propeled by paddles or motors, not sails. Those triangular sails are found in East Africa.
Apparently, some filming was done in Sierra Leone but, according to the director, “Equatorial West Africa just didn’t have the infrastructure to accommodate all our needs for this size production. We needed other locations, as well.” In the end, most of the film was shot in South Africa and Mozambique, which is a pity because Sierra Leone can hold it’s own against any African country in terms of natural beauty and the recovering tourist industry would no doubt have benefited tremendoulsy from the publicity.
Although the plot was entertaining and action-packed, I was repeatedly irritated to see scenes that were obviously not Sierra Leone. Ultimately, Blood Diamond got away with not being filmed on location because of the audience’s ignorance about Africa. Anyone who knows the difference between West, East, and Southern Africa would have been disappointed.
Perhaps the filmmakers did not expect any Sierra Leoneans to see their movie, which is sad because wasn’t the movie supposed to be about the Sierra Leonean experience? It’s possible they were only interested in profiting from this national catastrophe. I understand that Hollywood studios exist to make money for their shareholders but the least they could have done was shoot more of the movie in Sierra Leone.