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Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
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Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

The Part of District 9 I Didn't Like

Racialicious calls out District 9’s Nigerian gangster caricatures:

So why the racist parts? Why can’t the Nigerians just be people with logical motives like money and weapons? Why do they have to go out of their way to be ooga-booga savages? The film would still have held up without the narrative elements of cannibalism and interspecies sex. Why do the blacks have to be sexual degenerates who will eat filth and violate the oldest human taboo by committing cannibalism? The only reason I see is to shoehorn some cheap visceral thrills into the movie. It’s lazy, sensationalist writing, and it diminishes the potential for intelligent, nuanced allegory. And it doesn’t even make sense. Man, it pissed me off.

Yup, I agree. Not a reason not to see and enjoy the movie; but one should notice such things, and call them out.

August 23, 2009 / Uncategorized

One comment

I think there’s a pretty strong case to be made that everybody in the film is portrayed in a pretty ugly light. Humans, aliens, whites, blacks, they all show their worst sides, including the “heroes”. Why did the Nigerian gangs (gangs, mind you, we never really encounter everyday citizens of any race outside of sound bites) have to be so savage? You could just as easily ask why the MNU brutes and suits had to be so brutal and bloodthirsty. Why did Wikus have to be such an incompetent prick?

Maybe having a black character take some redeemable action would have been a nice nod to our thoroughly modern desire for some kind of narrative “correctness”, but I think to single out any one group in the film and say they were portrayed as savage, is to route around a very central point. It’s the overwhelming savagery of every group in the film that makes the otherwise miniscule acts of “humanity” from a very few characters stand out in relief.

As for the cannibalism, I saw that plot element in the light of having seen this feature on The Big Picture a few weeks ago about albinos being targeted by gangs in Tanzania and killed for their limbs and organs to be used in good luck potions. So it didn’t strike me as sensationalist or a lazy invention at all. Surely it’s a rare thing, and not something rampant or pervasive, but neither are alien invasions.

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