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Old August 15 2009, 11:25 PM   #42
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Re: District 9 - Review, Discuss, Commentary ***SPOILERS*** possible

Spaceman Spiff wrote: View Post
firehawk12 wrote: View Post
Spaceman Spiff wrote: View Post
Gee, ya think?
Well, honestly, there's a way to do subtle without being SyFy about it. They don't need a random black character go, "YOU DID THIS TO US AND NOW YOU'RE DOING IT TO THEM", but all they needed to do was just have a black character identify with the aliens.
No, I'm tired of movies being that on-the-nose.

I agree 100% with Kajima.
What? When are any movies bankrolled by any studio ever truly on-the-nose when it comes to race relations involving blacks and whites? Truth is Hollywood runs from it all the time (it would rather remind us for an eternity of how evil the Germans were in WW2, but films about the Civil Rights movements in America or even films which present the South in a truly negative light during the Civil War are extremely rare). And even worse than Hollywood is the mainstream audience (aka white folks) who don't have the time, patience or tolerance to look at any movie involving white oppression of blacks. The reactions found on message boards typically for such rare films are gems like "who cares?", "why not show black racism for once!" and the longtime favorite "why don't they get over it by now". The last one is so ridiculous because those same folks probably don't mind every retread of American history in films in which white Americans overcome the tyranny of the British empire during the Revolutionary War or defeat the Nazis during WW2. No, in those instances the mainstream does not mind bringing up the past again and again and again.

Of course South Africa isn't America but the point remains. Racism is a topic that is not truly explored in movies. Its a topic that many folks are uncomfortable with. These days the industry is probably more at ease dealing with homophobia than it is with racism. And that's fine. But if the filmmakers wanted to make a more powerful film and use South Africa's history of Apartheid as a historical backdrop without really hitting the audience over the head with it then the better way IMO would have been to make the human lead in the film a black person. That would make it less on-the-nose but at the same time increase the overall impact. Because it would be quite insidious for a black person born into the Apartheid system to go about treating the aliens the same way whites in his position would have treated people like him years earlier. It would demonstrate, without having to say it starightforward, how we as human beings do not learn from our mistakes in the past; instead we learn to adopt the actions and tactics of our antagonists, oppressors (current or those in a distant past) and use it for our own means when we see fit. In other words we are all flawed and all capable of having extreme prejudices.

The added bonus, if they had gone with a black lead, would be that any audience member with any understanding of South Africa's history would be saying to themselves why doesn't this black character understand that he/she is now seems to have quickly forgotten what the other side of oppression and racial inequality looks like. That would make for a more fascinating lead character in my mind and better sell the point that some of you are claiming the filmmaker is trying to get across. Seriously when I experience this story of inhumanity towards these aliens seen mostly through a white person's point of view it doesn't have much impact. After all if white South Africans could do that to their fellow human beings not too long ago, its not all too surprising that they would also treat vistors from another world in a similiar fashion.
You will be missed, Richard Biggs
1961 - too soon
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