Monday, September 7, 2009

Post 3: District 9... not as far fetched as one might think

So in the "spirit" of racism and segregation I decided to comment on a recent film my girlfriend and I decided to see, the widely praised film District 9.
I will say right away, I thought this movie was absolutely fantastic. It wasn't because of the unique story, the incredible special FX, or the rather interesting ways they managed to expose you to bloody gory deaths. Its the fact that the story is EXTREMELY believable! If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it, but I am also going to vaguely explain the plot and how it applied to racism. So...


The theme of the story is that a group of alien refugees manage to escape from their own planet and drift their way to our own world. It has taken them 1.5 years to get here. They settle the massive mother-ship over the city of Johannesburg, South Africa but the doors to the ship never open. It just hovers and the world watches with held breath wondering why they have come. Most are scared, some are optimistic, but ALL are confused. Human beings become united about a decision and all agree that we should open the doors and see what is going on. The event is televised around the world as humans helicopter up to the ship, cut it open, and are horrified that the aliens ARE there and they are extremely starved, malnourished, and on the brink of death.

Over the course of the next few years human-kind again unites to nurse the aliens back to health, to take care of them, and to try to arrange an area for them to live in peace (called District 9) but tensions slowly begin to rise. The aliens demand rights, take a toll on money and medical supplies, and their ways are not like ours. People soon begin to get upset seeing the aliens as a constant drain on resources that could be used in other part of the world, odd looking, socially awkward, refusing to speak any language but their own, and a general nuisance. District 9 quickly becomes a run down, slum-like, refugee area where the aliens are left to rummage through trash and garbage for food and shelter, are not allowed to reproduce (any spawning eggs that are found are immediately torched and babies are killed on site), they are not allowed to own any weapons to protect themselves at any time (and if they are found owning weapons they are either killed or shipped away to be put under the needle and knife as experiments for humans to gain knowledge about them and their unique weapon systems), etc.

That is where I will stop explaining the movie because the actual story that follows the main characters are not entirely dependent on my points I would like to make. But all of the description above is extremely reminiscent to the ideas of World War II and the Nazi Concentration Camps or the segregation of a race because of differences and ignorance. The idea that this could happen, even to the people of an amazing discovery (that we are not alone in the universe) is a very frightening and very real look on human-kind and a bold political statement that we are a hateful species.

Does that define us? Or are we more than the sum of our agonizing, racist, hate-filled, power hungry, war-like past? I love how a science fiction story can ask these questions and do it in such a powerful way that we reflect and wonder if we can change the world one heart at a time.

That’s where change begins.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen the film but based on your generic description I'd have to agree that it is OBVIOUSLY meant to be a metaphor for Nazi Germany and the treatment of the Jews... or maybe the treatment of African Americans/foreigners in our country today. If you really think about it, it seems that most minorities DO, in fact, all seem to live in the same areas and are limited in resources and rights.