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Tag: Neill Blomkamp

District 9 – Bravo Blomkamp!

Well, Big Friendly and I loved it. We finally got to see it this evening and I was very proud of this latest SA product.

District 9, directed by Neill Blomkap, is a relatively straight alien vs human sci-fi, only it is set in Jozi, so all the comparisons with apartheid are incredibly resonant, without being shoved down your throat. The recent xenophobia in SA is also felt strongly through the film, in the same way that there is always interspecies intolerance and lack of understanding.

Here, Jozi is the main attraction with the downtown shots and the depressing squatter camp all feeling very real. The performances are fab, especially Sharlto Copley as Wikus Van Der Merwe. (Of course I was delighted to see friends like Jonathan Taylor and Rob Hobbs in it too). The movie is brilliantly styled; the baddie Nigerian gang are especially outrageous, and the alien technology is great. 

The very funny first third (laugh out loud often), which is very mockumentary in style,gives way to a more serious sci-fi dilemma as we follow Wikus’s journey to self-awareness, and his shift in allegiance.  I love that the movie helps us connect with the prawns the way Wikkus does. It ends up being rather powerful stuff. And the Wikus/prawn flower was almost Wall-e-esque, it was so touching. It’s also very skop, skiet en donner.

Great story, great performances, great shots of Jozi, gritty local gangsters, hard core urban violence – both human to alien and human to human make me understand why it shot to the top of the charts in the US. It is cheeky, original, independent, and totally world class.

And, to borrow a certain prawn restaurant in Jozi’s nickname, well done Blomkop!

PS. And I have to say to all detractors; I think you’re being a leetle over sensitive.

District 9 like an alien my broe

So Big Friendly and I have been very excited by the sounds and noises that local movie District 9 has been making. It’s right up my alley. I love SF. I love send up. I love the idea that apartheid and xenophobia are looked at in an original way. I love that it’s local and that it has shot up the charts in such a huge way. It is a success story; just like our own Charlize. I especially love that it seems to have mainstream appeal overseas just like any other weird, SF, action movie would. It opens here on 28 August and I’m going to rush off to see it.

What has been really interesting (and telling) for me is that I have read two blog/reviews by two South Africans, both in America, who hated the fliek. One even walked out before the end. They both raised the same points and were equally disgusted by the movie and how it made them feel. They felt that the bad guy was a total Afrikaans stereotype. They felt that South Africans were portrayed as idiots. They felt that Americans would get the completely wrong impression of what South Africa and its people are like. They were embarrassed. They felt that the script was trite and weak.

Last night we got into a bit of a discussion before TheatreSports about art movies and mainstream movies and money and South African films. Everyone agreed that our serious movies often have a very limited, art house appeal. But we were all nervous about being misunderstood by a runaway success story, block buster, SF, action fliek.

I don’t know. I’ll reserve my judgement until I see it. In the meantime, I’m so excited that it’s raking in the dollars. Even if it had big, overseas money behind it. Bravo Neill Blomkamp.

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