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Diamonds and Rust

There's no mutiny but plenty of misery on the Bounty in "Diamonds and Rust," a stark verite look at 90 long days aboard a gem-mining trawler in southern African waters. Fascinating socio-anthro slice is a good fit for select nonfiction broadcast, fest and educational slots.

There’s no mutiny but plenty of misery on the Bounty in “Diamonds and Rust,” a stark verite look at 90 long days aboard a gem-mining trawler in southern African waters. Helmers Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz received permission to film everyday life on the Spirit of Namibia from diamond exporter De Beers, but result — which shows fraying tempers, racist attitudes, a deteriorating vessel and front office indifference — hardly flatters the company. Fascinating socio-anthro slice is a good fit for select nonfiction broadcast, fest and educational slots.

Apart from their usual equipment problems, long hours, longer contracted stints (sometimes going months without leave) and the sheer claustrophobic boredom of an industrial life at sea, the Spirit crew has a special grief source at present: newly arrived Israeli security manager Danny Levin who manages to alienate virtually everyone. But the white South African company men aren’t much more likable in their contempt for the underpaid Namibian deck hands whose national wealth is being carted off. A Cuban captain and cook try to keep the peace. Expertly edited chronicle doesn’t lead to any major explosion, but reveals plenty — little of it pleasant — en-route.

Diamonds and Rust

Israel

  • Production: A New Israel Foundation for Cinema and Television production. Produced, directed by Adi Barash, Ruthie Shatz.
  • Crew: Camera (color, HD vid), Barash; editor, Shatz; sound designer, Sefi Carmel. Reviewed at San Francisco Film Festival, April 29, 2001. Running time: 73 MIN.
  • With: (English, Hebrew, Namibian and Spanish dialogue with English subtitles.)
  • Music By: