Sadly enough, all your prejudices are confirmed in this film about a diamond mining ship off the Namibian coast. On the upper decks you meet white people and a couple of Cubans, and on the lower decks, black people and some other Cubans working hard for low wages. The white people pick the diamonds under camera surveillance. The black people do the dirty work. Somewhere far away from Namibia and from the film itself, rich people are selling and buying the diamonds.
Why watch this film if nothing is new? Because the filmmakers brilliantly succeed in making the characters come across as human beings. The stereotyped picture is broken thanks to the two filmmakers who filmed there for months. Once again you are reminded that time is precious in documentary filmmaking.
Diamonds symbolise wealth. A ship digging up the diamonds from the sea off the Namibian coast symbolises our world in miniature. With its problems, conflicts, joy and anger. With several nationalities on board whose skin colours differ, the scene is set for tension and racism. The pay is low and their cabins cramped. They don’t have any private life, they can listen to music, watch films on the video, eat and drink, masturbate – or write poems, as one of the Cubans does, or write letters to family and friends back home.
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