Tuesday, December 8, 2009

District 9

Not having heard of many good movies around the block, M suggested a slightly older one that we had missed during the year and we settled for 'District 9' to watch over a late Sunday evening. You should know that we've been living without a television for the past 6 months. Earlier it was about finding a good house to settle in and then picking up a good TV. But now it's been more than 3 months since we found a beautiful place and we've snugly settled in and a TV is not yet in the horizon. So our daily entertainment is chiefly from books, friends, drives, shopping, eating and movies! Oh well, the whys and the why nots later, back to 'District 9' now.

The movie was supposed to be a disaster right from the story line - Aliens on earth, a UFO, gory scenes, aliens with worm like thingies on their nose, a dumb looking actor. I mean, please, whoever thought this would be as brilliant as it turned out to be. There were a number of times at the beginning of the movie we wanted to turn it off thinking it was too violent for our taste but fortunately we didn't.

District 9 is not just another alien movie – it’s not MIB and it’s not The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It’s actually the most human movie that’s been made in a long time. It shows the truth about how human (or inhuman if it helps you understand better what I mean) we can be. The basic plot is about aliens who find themselves stranded on earth and how as humans we deal with the circumstance. We kick them around, we try to grab their technology, we treat them like unwanted citizens, we conduct medical experiments on them… When we treat our own fellow beings like this why should aliens be expected to be treated differently? As the movie unfolds in Johannesburg, I begin to wonder if the makers really meant it to be an alien race or just another human race.

One scene touched the cord for me. After deciding that the aliens need to be moved to another place away from the city, the protagonist goes around each alien home serving eviction notices and making them sign the notice. The understanding that it’s perfectly okay as long as you just take the legal course – I guess that’s as human as it can get.

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