District 9

District 9
District 9, the movie in this photo, is a South African sci-fi movie and Hollywood blockbuster set in Johannesburg. While the movie is fictional it also represents many aspects of our apartheid era and the recent xenophobic unrest that we experienced about two years ago.

I recently spoke with an American who said that she didn't really enjoy the movie. On reflection I mentioned to her that (while it had a solid and serious message) the film was filled with jokes that had me rolling in my seat. The reason why she never found it so was because the jokes are largely cultural and based on events in our history and would thus be difficult for non-South African's to catch. Give it a try though, watch the movie and leave a comment to tell me what you thought about it.

Oh, just a side note, Johannesburg is nothing like how it's represented in the movie. ;)

9 thoughts on “District 9

  1. Angie

    I saw the movie. I like it but didn’t understand why the decided on cat food. You think someone could have come up with something better:) I’m a Texas resident but did spend 1992-1999 in Johannesburg & Cape Town; I got to see the apartheid unfolding & the extreme racism and separation. I could see that happening to the aliens & you do feel for them even though they are so dam ugly:)
    Thank you for the daily photos, I look forward to them & pass them on to my Cape Town friend I recently met here of all places.

  2. Ben Wideman

    I thought the first half of the film was brilliant – full of cultural nuances, critiques at social norms, as well as being filled with really interesting thoughts about racial (and eventually species?) relations.

    The second half seemed needlessly filled with massive explosives and over the top action. I felt like it was almost as if two films had been squished in to one.

  3. Paul

    Post author

    Angie, I think the cat food thing may have been a reference to the fact that prawns, what the humans called the aliens, are bottom-feeders. Also, when europeans landed in Africa they traded substances of little value for things of great value. The aliens never realised that cat food is pet food, and enjoyed it (and got addicted to it) presumably because it was unlike anything they’d ever tasted. The Nigerians traded cheap cat food for valuable weapons. I’m glad that you enjoyed it!

    Ben, you are correct, and you’re not alone – I’ve heard the comment from someone else before. I have to agree with Lydon though; I enjoyed the entire movie. :)

  4. Cristina

    I didn’t liked the movie at all. I nearly left before the end. I was thinking to see something totally different, about apartheid. It was also very difficult for me to follow not only the jokes that made Paul rolling in his seat…but all of the conversation. And also too much violence for my taste.

  5. Paul

    Post author

    Andrew – that’s such a weird thought – a poster of a movie set in Jozi in Moscow.

    Cristina, you’re right, it was fairly violent… and I guess, if you’re not use to the South African accent it would have been difficult to follow in places. Perhaps you should watch Cry Freedom instead. It’s old now, but perhaps more like what you were looking for.

  6. Lydon

    District 9 actually had quite a lot of viral advertising around the world. There were “Humans Only” signs, stickers and billboard throughout world cities. Was pretty cool actually.

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