Wednesday, September 9, 2009
“District 9” – the best film of the year so far
Review by Hilath
Racism, in all its forms, is something all humans have to overcome if we are to ensure the survival of our species and others as well.
Whether it is one religion’s superiority over another; or one language’s superiority over another; or one ethnicity’s superiority over another; or one species’ superiority over another, racism is racism. Period.
Racism is against humanity. Racism is against the very essence of being human, of being an intelligent creature. Anybody who supports racism, seek psychiatric help first before you start speaking to me.
When a film gets an average of more than 8 points out of 10 on IMDB.com and when critics rave about it so much, not to mention one critic calling it the most unusual sci-fi film in recent history, you tend to wonder whether it really lives up to the hype and what could be so unusual about it to leave you stunned.
But here is one film which actually went beyond my expectations and one of the few films in recent memory that actually left me in a depressed mood hours after watching it. In fact, even as I write this, I am still in a quiet mood.
District 9 is one of those few films which can actually make you go emotionally haywire. I can only describe it as a social commentary disguised as a science fiction film. Its premise strikes uncomfortably close to home one of the most basal characteristics about us human beings; racism, hostility and wanton violence towards the unknown -- whether it’s another species different from our own, or whether it is another people ethnically, culturally or religious-wise different from us.
One of the greatest ironies in the film is how easily we tend to forget our own suffering and let our inherent racial bias and prejudice loose when black Africans, who themselves have suffered so much under Apartheid in South Africa, treat the aliens in the Johannesburg ghetto as subhuman. Is it then a wonder that the Israeli army routinely unleashes its violence against helpless Palestinians in Gaza though the Jews themselves suffered worse at the hands of Nazi Germany?
Throughout the film I sat stunned and towards the end, a lump formed in my throat as director Neill Blomkamp crafted his masterpiece of a movie weaving into it the very melancholic sadness I felt when I watched Steven Spielberg’s misunderstood alien in E.T. The Extraterrestrial and Brad Bird’s misunderstood alien in The Iron Giant. I am glad Jorge Blanco and Javier Abad are releasing their animated Planet 51 on November 20; that film should demonstrate to any human what it feels like to be misunderstood as an alien "invader" among an alien species; sort of an ironic reversal of fortune (see the below YouTube trailer).
When District 9 ended, I felt so strongly for a sequel to deliver justice that had been denied, and felt utterly disgusted with the word “alien” itself. Who are we humans to think we are a superior species? And who are we humans to think that a certain ethnicity is superior to all others based on religion, language or anything else? Living things are living things. Life is life.