Thursday, February 10, 2011

Similarities to the Apartheid

Something that was very interesting to me about District 9 was how many of the events that occurred in the film were eerily similar to those that occurred during the South African apartheid era. In 1966 there was a “whites only” part of Cape Town, called District 6, in which thousands of individuals were removed from their homes and relocated to Cape Flats. The discrimination and racism against non-whites began in 1948 and lasted until 1993. The director of District 9, Neill Blomkamp, is trying to portray throughout this film a message of how inhumane human beings can actually be to others. Though the humans did initially assist the aliens, violence eventually ensued and the prawns were cast out to District 9. It almost seems that Wikus becomes a more caring and compassionate individual towards others as he transforms into a prawn. He realizes what all the aliens live with on a daily basis and sees the difficulty in their lives. He helps Christopher get back to his son and the ship he has created so they can then return to their mothership to return to their own planet and eventually save the other aliens on Earth. Wikus turns on other human beings as he kills multiple MNU soldiers during his attempts to assist Christopher. Some could argue this was a matter of survival or some could argue that he did so to support the prawns and help them escape the captivity of Earth.

I did find it very ironic though that Nigerians are portrayed as such ruthless and brutal individuals throughout the film. This goes to show you that there still are cases and instances of racism and discrimination throughout our world today and it is something that will more than likely remain for years to come.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely agree with your linking district 9 with District 6 in terms of human rights and how horrible humans have been to each other. I also like your comment on the Nigerians portrayal as brutish and ironic. However, looking back on Professor Miller's, comment on whether or not the film was racist, I want to mention that I do think this film had several racist undertones throughout the movie.

    The aliens are far more human than most other sci-fi movies and thus have a stronger link to humanity in my opinion. This only intensifies the racism towards the aliens and makes it even more obvious to the audience. Christopher's character is arguably the most human acting creature in the film. MNU treats them as if they are not living things, and the Nigerian population is depicted as complete savages with no tangible social connection to any world other than the aliens really. The fact the the Nigerians in the film behave as absurdly barbaric and "uncivilized" is an example of the racist undertones towards the Nigerian population. I didn't find this to be an offensive depiction given the far-fetched plot; however, definitely something to note. In general though the theme of racism is rampant in the movie and one that is symbolically conquered by Wikus' physical and metaphoric transformation at the end of the movie.