Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Africa - Creative Arts, Apartheid, Film, South Africa

Becoming the alien: D9

Warning this has spoilers.


I have yet to watch District 9 and have read probably too many reviews to view it objectively. This is one of the better ones I have read.

You have to admit: As a premise for a movie it is pretty unpromising. An alien spaceship comes to rest over Johannesburg.  Instead of conquering the planet, the aliens turn out to be in crisis: malnourished and in need of rescuing.  They end up living in a local slum, crammed together in a rusty shantytown.  When human Joburgers complain, a company is called in to move them — but things get out of hand, and it all escalates into car chases and gun-fights.   Stated like this, who would be blamed for deciding to give it a miss? It is hard to figure out what kind of movie it could be.  Some kind of half-baked take on District 6, set in the wrong city?  An American skop skiet en donder movie, with Parktown Prawns as the baddies?    When I first heard about the movie, I dismissed it without a thought; and indeed, even today, with the movie doing well at the box office, some reviewers and commentators seem reluctant to take it seriously.

Well, I’ve been to see it and I personally think it is the best movie I have yet seen about South Africa — and specifically, one of the most pentetrating, disconcerting and subversive meditations  on the nature of racism and repression in the post-colonial world.  District 9 is fresh and transgressive, hilariously funny and absolutely horrifying:  utterly brutal,  sly,  streetwise  and in your face. It’s not a voice from the ghetto  — it is, completely and incontrovertibly, a white voice — but is a voice from the postcolonial periphery; a voice speaking harshly, grittily and urgently about the surrealism of racism and the confluence of violence and normality here at the edges of the West’s old empire. Continue reading………

I hear many Nigerians are mad about this film’s depiction of them – yea they have a point but I think we need to get over it and look at the positive. As this review points out they are the only humans living and interacting with the aliens albeit on a commercial and exploitative level – but it seems less so than others. From the sound of it every group in the film is as unpleasant as the next in their own way. But hey I havent seen it.

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  1. I think we need to get over it and look at the positive was exactly my sentiment. Who are those people calling racist and xenophobic as Ghana, angered by recent denigrating comments by Nigerian government officials ask President Umaru Yar’Adua to call his ministers to order and immediately stop the ‘Ghana bashing’ going on in Nigeria. Nigeria’s Information Minister Dora Akunyili was quoted on a local television station in August that the whole of Ghana is not even up to the size of Lagos! Imagine Nollywood directors and producers are non Nigerians!
    .-= Beauty´s last blog ..The problem with District 9 =-.

  2. Comment by post author


    Beauty @ Not to talk of the senator who made the comment about 12 million Ijaws could be sacrificed for peace – sorry cant remember the exact quote or his name! No one in this film is presented positively except for the aliens and their physically repulsive features go a long away to canceling their “goodness”. The Black SA’s are presented as xenophobes but the worst are the white Afrikaners and the MNU. Nonetheless racism does not allow for the presenting of black as nasty bad people – this is the one problem with the film.