negative review of the movie "District 9" in America, written by a (black) American critic, Armond White, entitled "from Mothership to Bullship".
Fans of the film leapt on this critic immediately; although famous commentator Roger Ebert initially defended White, and then withdrew his defence upon reflection.
White makes reference to the film's alleged political metaphor:
Consider this: District 9’s South Africa–set story makes trash of that country’s Apartheid history by constructing a ludicrous allegory for segregation that involves human beings (South Africa’s white government, scientific and media authorities plus still-disadvantaged blacks) openly ostracizing extraterrestrials in shanty-town encampments that resemble South Africa’s bantustans.
White believes the movie "trivializes" the apartheid regime, although he clearly knows nothing about it - note the mistaken identification of Bantustans with townships above.
White goes on to write:
"Even older racial stereotyping occurs when Nigerian immigrants enter the game as interlopers who operate a criminal underworld that exploits both aliens and the South Africans. Because the Prawns (“called bottomfeeders”) subsist on canned cat food, the Nigerian mob run a scam selling cat food at exorbitant prices.Their viciousness is almost comical in its Sam Jackson–style exaggeration.These malevolent blacks are also grinning cannibals who later threaten Wikus’ life. They’re a new breed of racist swagger; the kingpin sits in a wheelchair, big, black and scary. By this point, District 9 stops making sense and becomes careless agitation using social fears and filmmaking tropes Blomkamp and Jackson are ill-equipped to control. “You fucking mizungo [white person], I’m gonna get you!,” screams the menacing black Nigerian cannibal."
South African director Neill Blomkamp has repeatedly had to answer the question of whether or not the movie is about apartheid, and has stated that it isn't. When asked if this was the simplistic meaning of the movie, he replied :
"It's not too simplistic, but I think there are other elements. Another element that should be noted is, with the new black government since probably 1999 onwards, the large number of illegal immigrants in South Africa have become a problem."
In which case, the portrayal of Nigerians as the gangland criminals is spot-on accurate, a fact Armond White made no attempt to discover.
In the movie, set in 2009, the aliens have lived on earth since 1981, neatly spanning BOTH the NP and ANC governments. American critics may or may not get it - but it seems like some are willing to jump to conclusions without even trying.
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