Wednesday, December 6, 2006

So, Leo DiCaprio, Are Diamonds STILL A Girl's Best Friend?

Well ONLY if your life depends on it – or so one would think after viewing the newest and controversial film of the Bedford Falls production company (Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskowitz) “Blood Diamond”, at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring last night.

I don’t get out to see movies in the theater that often, usually only for special screenings. (However, I love sitting inside watching movie after movie in the comfort of my own home or others. Perhaps I have an aversion to not being able to control the pause button for my “fill in the blank” breaks.) So when I DO have the privilege of being held captive in a dark cozy theatre (the Silver Spring AFI is undoubtedly one of the best places for these viewing pleasures) it certainly is a time to remember.

The night started with a fun intimate cocktail party hosted by Capitol File at Ceviche in downtown Silver Spring. Ceviche is located upstairs (and not so easy to spot with the naked untrained eye) on Ellsworth Ave, which is basically the main drag in between the “town center”. As an aside, if you haven’t been to Silver Spring in the past few years, you MUST visit. Not the easiest place to get to, but it is a world away from where it was 6 – 8 years ago. There are tons of new upscale shops, restaurants, and boutiques with theaters, parking, and unique outside artwork, thanks to Doug Duncan and the moving in of Discovery Communications.

Ceviche is one of the many establishments that the local Latin restaurant developer, Mauricio Frago-Rosenfeld (Mate’, Gua Rapo, Chi Cha and 2 more to open up in Arlington soon), operates quite well. The food is delicious and the design of course, as all his places have, has a sexy Latin vibe. The drinks – well, last night, one HAD to try the themed “Blood Diamond Marguerita” which went down quite well.

The special guests of the evening included Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskowitz themselves. The guests included friends of Cap File and AFI Theater, and some from the jewelry and diamond world (can you say Ronnie Mervis?). Little did we know the true “in your face” controversy we were about to see play out on the big screen.

“Blood Diamond” came unfortunately for the diamond industry, right in time for Christmas and the holiday season. Let’s just say, as we were walking out of AFI, a lovely woman who had an association with the jewelry industry said “If there were a hat or basket right by the door, I think each of us would throw off our diamonds.” And mayb you would too after seeing the horrific history portrayed during recent years in the now peaceful Sierra Leone, Africa. The utter disregard of human life and the way rebels captured and brainwashed young boys was truly disturbing. According to this movie, all this done in the name of these “conflict” diamonds. I am not going to give the story away, but I will say that I, along with others who saw the movie, now have our eyes wide open, not only to the diamond industry, but to the continuous troubles Africa has and the massive amounts of death, destruction, violence, and refugees that exist today.

To comment on the movie itself, I have to say that while I was not impressed with Leonardo DiCaprio and certainly less impressed with Jennifer Connelly, the Oscar MUST go to Djimon Hounou, who plays opposite DiCaprio. The setting is gorgeous, the action is gripping, the story has you at the edge of your seat. I give it *** out of ****.

At least I now know to ask next time I purchase a diamond (have no idea when that will ever be) if the diamond is a “conflict” diamond. Then again, it is kind of like asking if the fish in a restaurant was line caught or if it was farm raised or if your beef was grain fed. How do you really REALLY know? As a consumer, it is up to us to ask these questions and hope that the answers we receive, all the way safe in our restaurants and retail stores, are true, real, and honest. Needless to say, at the very least, Zwick and Herskowitz bring an education to the industry, and really it can turn into an opportunity for diamond dealers and retailers to say “We do not tolerate conflict diamonds”.

And in case you are wondering if diamonds are STILL a girl’s best friend? I guess, go check out the movie yourself and let me know!

P.S. (I did hear somewhere that environmentalist activist DiCaprio was so disturbed by what he saw during the filming of this movie, that he is getting very involved in helping refugee camps and children.)


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