January 21, 2010

District 9

It’s worthy of note that one of the most popular films of 2009 was District 9, a fast-paced and action-oriented flick that takes on the issue of racism through the medium of science fiction. More significantly, it deals specifically with the urgent issue of apartheid.

In District 9, an alien space ship has crash landed on Earth, stranding a species of alien life forms who are derogatorily referred to as “prawns” due to their appearance. The creatures are segregated in a concentration camp style shanty town where they live in abject poverty and desperation while suffering untold abuses by their human neighbors.

The plot thickens when (spoiler alert!) one of the humans becomes infected with a chemical that causes him to start to turn into a “prawn.” This brings them together in fighting to save the aliens, thus revealing the common interest of peoples of different nationalities and ethnicities to unite against racism, national chauvinism, and the system which perpetuates it.
This film was covered in primarily a positive light by the corporate media. However, that same media strove to obscure any likeness between the depiction of an apartheid society in District 9 and any present day examples of Apartheid, namely Israeli apartheid in occupied Palestine.

Instead they focused exclusively on the connection with the apartheid system in South Africa which was dismantled in 1994. This connection is an obvious one, since the film takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa, but the movies significance to more present-day events cannot be denied. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

review by Stephen Von Sychowski
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1 comment:

  1. If you prefer books, this movie is an adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis (published 1915).


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