Thursday, September 3, 2009

District 9: Finally Seen It

Two days ago, I satisfied my curiosity and went ahead to check it out. Funny incident. A man resembling JM Coetzee became impatient whilst waiting in the ticket queue about 30 minutes before the movie was scheduled to begin because there was only one till operating. He angrily tried to nudge me forward, it was ridiculous. I was the only one in front of him and the line was short. Patience is something so many must make a habit. Since I love watching people get mad in public, it was really hilarious.

So let's get to the movie. It's really on surprise to me that it turned out the way it did. Hollywood can't help but revert to stereotypes in relation to people of colour. Once again, the main protagonist is white. We are forced to view people of colour, in this case Nigerians, as somewhat subhuman or a deviation from normality. We perceive the story through an intrinsically white lens and thus empathise with the protagonist and his life. So I can certainly agree now that I've seen it with the critiques made at racialicious. It may not be an allegorical reference to apartheid entirely but it did deal wad of offensive racial stereotypes. My question is was the Nigerian aspect really needed. What part did it play within the main plot other than that of attempting to provide comical relief in somewhat of a heavy movie. In that case, it seems Neil Blomkamp and his people found it quite appropriate to 'bamboozle' these caricatured characters. Typical Hollywood style.

As far as the movie being an apartheid allegory, I beg to differ. If the prawns are somewhat of a representation of blacks during the time of National Party rule, why is it that they come from a different planet. Remember who the original inhabitants were. This movie does not come across as allegorical. It was a worthy attempt at science fiction within an incongruous context. But some aspects of it were just plain egregious. Either way, I'm glad to see more blockbuster-scale movies being shot on the continent. Let's just hope the writers and directors will attempt to do a wiser job at portraying characters in a less prejudiced and more progressive light.

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