Saturday, August 15, 2009

District 9 ****



This is the scifi picture, you've been waiting for. It's the Schindler's List of the genre.

The movie starts documentary style. The aliens have landed of all places, in Johannesburg. Their craft sputtered around for years, and stopped. The inhabitants are malnourished. They came leaderless, and without intentions of war or new technology. The creatures were stranded, without fuel for their craft.

They were housed in a closed shanty town establishment called District 9. It was overcrowded and militarized, turned into a slum. Mass protests hit South Africa, because the creatures who are contemptuosly called "prawns," are accused of taking up social service benefits, that belong to humans. There are signs everywhere, humans only. They have an insatiable appetite for cat food. Nigerians start a cat food scam.



A private company called MNU (Multi-National United) is contracted to relocate the aliens from District 9 to a new camp outside the city limits. Of course, MNU is secretly interested in figuring out a way to use the sophisticated alien weaponry, which apparently can only be activated using alien DNA.

Sharlto Copley plays Wikus van der Merwe, an MNU operative, assigned to lead the eviction of the prawns. He is a back slapper type, who during an eviction, accidently spills a cylinder of alien material on his skin, causing his slow transformation to a prawn. His value is he has both human and alien DNA, and could be exploited by MNU, for their goal of the weaponry. Sharlto is a young DeNiro quality actor.

Director/writer Neil Blomkamp grew up in South Africa. The story is based on District Six, Cape Town is the name of a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town, South Africa. It is best known for the forced removal of over 60,000 of its inhabitants during the 1970s by the apartheid regime — a historical basis for the MNU's eviction and relocation of the "prawns".

RENEGADE EYE

29 comments:

The Pagan Temple said...

Sounds like a reworking of Alien Nation to me, with the "prawns" replacing the "slugs".

tony said...

Actually those are fairly convincing Aliens........(in some films they just look so cheap+tacky!)However you can tell they are not real.look again! Not a single one wears a Sombrero........

Dave Riley said...

Seen it.

This review touches on soem of the issues:
http://mikeely.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/a-few-words-about-district-9/

jams o donnell said...

I thought Apartheid meets "Alien Nation" when I read your synopsis. I definitely want to see this

Ducky's here said...

It appears that they started out trying to do a film with a little gravitas, realized they couldn't handle it (not surprising with Jackson involved) and let it devolve into the standard action sequence.

Seen one, seen 'em all.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I've been to District Six in Cape Town, it is still a ghost town, a derelict sight, a powerful thing to go and see and a reminder of the cruelty of racism and the apartheid regime.

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: It's more political than Alien Nation.

Tony: Good point.

Dave R: Which blog is your main one?

Jams: Exactly

Daniel H-G: This movie is made for you. I'd be interested in your opinion of the star.

noni said...

from south Africa, grown up in south Africa....of course resonance of "Apartheid" is possibility in the movie..such as "restricted area", "isolation", "special opportunity", "authoritarian control"..etc. these words common idiom in south Africa, have not seen D9, so i guess these above words are explored/reflected in there...
(but don't know yet about perspective, have not seen other works of Neil Blomkamp)
got a news letter from Weta digital..those special effects are marvelous

Renegade Eye said...

Noni: The movie is based on Cape Town District 06.

You'd like this movie very much.

FJ said...

...and all this time I thought it was going to be about the Islamic and other ethnic/cultural ghettoes outside London and Paris.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I read today that it had an excellent opening week, grossing $37 million in te US, which for a film with no stars set in South Africa is amazing.

Good stuff.

The Sentinel said...

"other ethnic/cultural ghettoes outside London and Paris..."

There are plenty INSIDE both too FJ - in fact the majority of the old East End indigenous population has moved east out of the city, being replaced with what you describe.

The Sentinel said...

The trailer looks pretty good for this for film and I just checked and luckily it is already on P2P, the screener version but a little bit of black-and-white for a few seconds every now and again is a small price to pay...

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

The horrors of District 6 are well documented here, the museum which I've had the pleasure of going to is also worth a visit if ever in Cape Town.

"All who pass by, remember with shame the many thousands of people who lived for generations in district six and other parts of this city, and were forced from their homes because of the colour of their skin. Father, forgive us..."

Ducky's here said...

Daniel, surely you realize that the American audience is going to see the flying body parts and CGI and doesn't care about any potential reference to Cape Town's squatters camps.

Most of them can't find Cape Town on a map.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I have some degree of hope that the film will act as a springboard for a few to investigate the real District 9.

FJ said...

...or the 'wife beating is good' Shari'a courts in the East End.

Renegade Eye said...

FJ: That was another movie with Julianne Moore.

Daniel H-G: I was glad it did well. There are enough references to Africa, to maybe generate some interest.

Ducky: It is not subtle. They show signs saying Humans Only. It is documentary style to some extent. There is shoot-em up also. It is a good movie.

Sentinel: The ghettos in London and Paris, are not District 6 Capetown.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Just to be clear, the UK is not ruled by Sharia Law, Sharia Law courts do exist in the UK under the 1996 Arbitration Act, as do Jewish courts BUT they have no binding power in the UK, participation in them and their rulings is totally voluntary and they have no legal standing within UK law as a recourse to justice.

Also, as we are going off topic about the East End of London, it has famously been an area of mass immigration since the Tudor times and I am not sure what anyone means by indiginous, as is has been the home in the past for:

Lascars, West Africans, American freed slaves, Han Chinese, Flemish, Huguenots, Irish, Ashkenazi Jews and currently Bangladeshis.

The Sentinel said...

Renegade Eye

"Sentinel: The ghettos in London and Paris, are not District 6 Capetown."

I was responding to a previous comment (just like hoffman-gill below), not initiating it, so why single me out?


hoffman-gill,

Seeing as you want to continue off topic, lets make sure it is accurate.


"Sharia Law courts do exist in the UK under the 1996 Arbitration Act, as do Jewish courts BUT they have no binding power in the UK"

In the UK Sharia courts DO have "binding powers" and thier judements are enforceable through the country or High courts of the UK.

The only caveat at the moment is that people agree to come under its jurisdiction, which culturally and religiously is compelling.

And to be clear, Sharia courts do not even have to conform to English law in its legalise or rulings, so there is in effect, more then one law for all in the UK.



"ISLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.

The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.

Source


"Crucially, the legislation does not insist that settlements must be based on English law; all that matters is the outcome is reasonable and both parties agree to the process. And it's in this space that religious courts, applying the laws of another culture, are growing in the UK."

"The court cannot force anyone to come within its jurisdiction. But once someone agrees to settle a dispute in the Beth Din, he or she is bound in English law to abide by the court's decision [...]

Faisal Aqtab Siddiqi, a commercial law barrister and head of the Hijaz College Islamic University in Warwickshire, says he has already adjudicated in a number of contractual disputes.

"Because we follow the same process as any case of arbitration, our decisions are binding in English law. Unless our decisions are unreasonable, they are recognised by the High Court."

Source

The Sentinel said...

And as for the East End, sure it has always had immigration, as has the rest of the UK but after 1948 and until more recently it retained its identity of being quintessentially English; indeed the East End has played a major role in British culture and the British 'brand' because it is the origin of the world famous Cockney's and their English traditions and colourful language; the East End was famous for its close knit communties of Cokneys and that was true up until about 20 years ago and then it started to really change. I know, I am a Cockney, I watched it.

The Labour councils in the East End sold out their working class base to PC and began refusing local housing to local people who had lived their for generations and had been on waiting lists for years, even applications under the traditional policy of generational housing / family ties whereby families with close ties and long standing ties to the area were given priority of close proximity housing to each other were refused and the policy was halted; instead they gave them recently arrived immigrants, overwhelming from South Asia and more and more of the Cockneys left the East End migrating eastwards, in particular Barking and Dagenham.

Then, when the East Ends character and demographics had taken a dramatic lurch away from the indigenous Cockney's, the Labour councils reinstated the generational housing / family ties policy and began allocating the remain East End housing to the South Asian immigrants as a priority, and with their much larger extended families the result was the complete change of the East End form the traditional indigenous Cockney English to an area that resembles the makeup of its majority.

"Children who speak English as their first language are now a minority in inner-city London primary schools, official figures showed yesterday...In Tower Hamlets [East End] almost four out of five youngsters do not have English as their mother tongue."

Source


This Labour policy is now widely seen as a mistake by the more pragmatic Labour members who have watched the people of Barking and Dagenham - a huge proportion of whom were pushed out of the East End by this racist action - elect a nearly majority BNP council because of what has happened and the fact they no longer trust labour, and even the unelected Labour PM Gordon Brown piped in with his "British homes for British people" rhetoric to try and win back this mass of lost support

He was then told that such a policy would be illegal, in any case - even if Labour really had any intention of backing up its words.


"and I am not sure what anyone means by indiginous"

The term itself is self-explanatory really; but, OK, what do you think people mean when they refer to the indigenous people of Australia? Or North America? Or Africa?

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I'm not getting into an off topic 300 comment chat here, baited by FJ and yourself. I've got a life to lead so I'll limit my off topic comments to this and withdraw:

To suggest that the UK is run by Sharia law is a falsehood, it is not. You make the crucial point that participation in the courts is voluntary AND the point you don't mention is that no Sharia law rulings have been taken through the mainstream UK court system.

If anyone wants to be foolish enough to subject themselves to backwards and barbaric Sharia law then they are free to do so BUT crucially, they don't have to.

Seems fair. Unless of course the Shaira court myth is used by racists to try and make out "we" are being "taken over" by "them".

Speaking of racist ideas, another classic is of a "quintessentially English" part of...let's say London being "taken over" by people with non-white skin.

HA!

The East End is many things but the idea that it sums up Englishness is purely subjective, it has always been ethnically diverse.

Flight from the East End, where housing, crime and poverty were in a terrible state (EEK! And that was Cockneys causing all the trouble, how can we blame that on non-whites?) occured with the building of the Beacontree Estate in the 20s and 30s and carried on with the terrible bombing it received in WW2, so inhabitants at that time were moved out to far superiour housing in Barking, Dagenham and Essex, such as Debden, a purpose built small town.

And so the wheel keeps turning and different residents come and go, such is the nature of that part of the capital. It belongs to no-one and certainly not your bizarre, nostaligia coated take on Cockneys.

The idea that this mythical indiginous population of surprise surprise white people somehow 'own' this area is just that: mythical. The Cockneys were only temporary residents in a historic sense, just as with the Langars and Hugenots who both dominated the area longer than this idea of "Cockneys".

The idea that the East End has an indignous population is purely subjective, it is an area that has always been a home of immigrants, it is temporaraly loan to the current community who will no doubt be replaced by another community.

And it surprises me little that you're hung up about how many people don't have English as a first langauge...

The Sentinel said...

hoffman-gill,

"I'm not getting into an off topic 300 comment chat here, baited by FJ and yourself"

Playing the victim again? You choose to make the off topic comments and yet again, every contention you made is false, baseless, without evidence, to the contrary and you have merely been put back on the path of reality.


"I've got a life to lead so I'll limit my off topic comments to this and withdraw:"

Funny how selective that is really; you have no problem posting reams of comments when you fancy it, but when you're on hiding to nothing you choose to paint yourself as some sort of disciplined moral abstainsist.

Odd that.

The evidenced truth, as always, can be found in my comment whilst baseless conjecture, as always, can be found in yours.


"To suggest that the UK is run by Sharia law is a falsehood, it is not."

I didn't make any such suggestion. Did I. Straw man.


"you don't mention is that no Sharia law rulings have been taken through the mainstream UK court system."

Because no one has contested their rulings yet to that point yet.


"If anyone wants to be foolish enough to subject themselves to backwards and barbaric Sharia law then they are free to"

In a Muslin country yes. In a country where that is the indigenous culture yes. In my country, no.

If people want to live under Sharia law, then they need to go to a country where it is the way of life and is practised, not set up shop in one where it is not, and is in fact, wholly incompatible and diametrically opposed to that countries way of life, traditions and law.

This is not the end of the powers of the Sharia courts in the UK; this is just the beginning.


"Unless of course the Shaira court myth is used by racists to try and make out "we" are being "taken over" by "them"."

Or British people who don't want any form of the "backwards and barbaric" (your words) sharia law practised in their own country.

In you book that equates to wasicsm.


"Speaking of racist ideas, another classic is of a "quintessentially English" part of."

Again, speaking the truth is warped into wasicsm by you; the Cockneys are quintessentially English and only a ignorant fool or an anti-English racist would say they are not.

But then your definition of racist ideas is very odd and does not seem to include a friend of your blog who fantasies about shooting "coons" dead, and talks of "jungle bunnies" "darkies" and "wogs" in your comments section.


"The East End is many things but the idea that it sums up Englishness is purely subjective"

Not even remotely.

Ask the average foreigner to name something they know about English people and the chances are they will name the Cockneys and the rhyming slang , etc.


"(EEK! And that was Cockneys causing all the trouble, how can we blame that on non-whites?)"

Very racist. Causing what "trouble" exactly?

The Sentinel said...

"occured with the building of the Beacontree Estate in the 20s and 30s and carried on with the terrible bombing it received in WW2, so inhabitants at that time were moved out to far superiour housing in Barking, Dagenham and Essex, such as Debden, a purpose built small town."

Bullshit - some were evacuated; mainly the children but they came back after the war. The East End was a very, very close knit community and people felt more it more then just a place to live: They belonged there. I know, its where I was born and raised. You don't, you wasn't.

The real reason for the move to the east has been carefully explained you in the post above. It was Labour's deliberate and racist housing policy; there are plenty of studies on it, including the one I linked to; But even Labour don't deny it and tried to back peddle on it, far, far too late. And that is why the BNP have such a large electoral presence in Barking and Dagenham, because that is the area that large numbers of the indigenous East Enders who were forced out ended up in.


"It belongs to no-one and certainly not your bizarre, nostaligia coated take on Cockneys."

Again, you are talking absolute rubbish. I was born and bred an ordinary working class Cockney, whereas you, by your own admission were raised as 'posh' lad in Nottingham.

What do you know of it? Nothing.

And again, if you think that the overwhelming majority of the people in the UK do not think that the whole of the UK, including its capital city, belong to them then...- oh wait, of course you don't!


"The idea that this mythical indiginous population of surprise surprise white people somehow..."

Reading your comments is a surreal experience. It really is.

Do you actually know what the word indigenous means? And why it would be no surprise at all to anyone in reality...


"The Cockneys were only temporary residents in a historic sense"

The English are only temporary residents in their own capital city, that's your contention?


"The idea that the East End has an indignous population is purely subjective"

Of course it isn't. Just as the idea that any region has an indigenous population is not even remotely subjective.


"it is an area that has always been a home of immigrants, it is temporaraly loan to the current community who will no doubt be replaced by another community."

The social housing stock is exhausted by the labour policy and the demographic is set.


"And it surprises me little that you're hung up about how many people don't have English as a first langauge..."

Really? Why is that.

Perhaps I shouldn't really expect English to be the main language in England? Or its capital.

Perhaps I should find it normal that 4 out of 5 children in my capital city are not English, nor is English their first language.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Oh Sentinel, you're funny, you really are an amusing character.

The Sentinel said...

"Oh Sentinel, you're funny, you really are an amusing character."

And you ae surreal. And proven completely wrong, yet again.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Nah, it's you who are wrong but no point arguing with you about it, until you can seperate your opinion from fact discussing anything with you is like debating a bit of wood.

A very argumentative bit of wood at that, unable to cede anything.

A closed mind is a dangerous one and a useless one.

The Sentinel said...

hoffman-gill,

And you are straight back to what you do best: Nonsense, personal comments and distractions from debate.

But back to reality, contrary to your contention that:

1) Sharia courts have "no binding power" - I proved that they in fact do.

2) The East End has long been anything other then majoity English - I have proven that the current demographic of the East End is recent and due to a deliberate racist Labour housing policy. The immigration into the East End over its entire history had never changed its demographic anywhere remotely near to its change over the past 20 years.

These are the facts of the matter; this is the truth.

But yet again you insist on producing absolutely nothing other then baseless conjecture and PC waffle to matters that you know absolutely nothing of.

You, a rich kid from Nottingham, even feel you have some sort of twisted right to tell me, a poor kid from the East End, that my upbringing and experiences are really a "bizarre, nostaligia coated take on Cockneys" - spectacular.

To demonstate further your incredibly stupid contention that somehow the East End wasn't overwhelmingly English in the 20's and '30's or during WW2 here are some pictures of East End kids being evactuted from the bombing in the '40's:

1

2

3


Nope, you are wrong once again, and demonstrably so but instead of admitting it or just letting it go you play the same old game of projection.

It is you who has a "closed mind" - you do not listen to facts and evidence and peoples actual experiences. If you cant refute it you go into bizarre rants about "wood" and see through caveats of "pointless debates" and moral abstinence. It is you who takes up a 'sheeple' PC stance on every conceivable subject, regurgitating well trodden meaningless waffle whilst ignoring all evidence to the reality.

And it is you who has a "dangerous mind" - extremely dangerous - because of this, and moreover because of the smug, but very dangerous, self appointed right you think this PC stance gives you to gratuitously and viciously label anyone who you deem to have dissented from the PC line (whilst excusing obvious racism from your blog friends) and call them "subhuman cu*nts" - with all of the disgusting connotations that goes with that mindset.

I have never called anyone, or even thought of any as a "subhuman c*nt" in my life - and I have seen things and served in some horrific places too, like Bosnia and Rwanda; these places are where the mindset that labels perceived opponents as "subhuman c*nts" leads to. But you use the term frequently and still think that you have the moral high ground.

Your mind is useless hoffman-gill, because it is not your own.

Renegade Eye said...

It's going too far astray.

There is hardly any working class neighborhood, that is the same ethnic composition of even 20 years ago.

Now I'm going to be a dictator and shut off comments.

Be sure to see the movie.