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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