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DM



Joined: 05 Jul 2002
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outsect wrote:
SPOILER








I think it's left open to be what you're thinking, or just an anonymous alien so the viewer can make it up.


Somebody didn't get it.
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:25 am
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Jared Paul



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Confidential wrote:
I didnt see the movie but i knew what jared was speaking of right away. i had the same feeling just from reading wikipedia's plot synopsis. The unease for me has little to do with whether or not there really are gangs and voodooism in foreign lands, but that that is the sole representation of people of color- either as needy or savage- in movies not just this one. it has little to do with the individual motivations of the filmmakers, but more the ingrained representations of other peoples in hollywood. as a person of color its really fucking frustrating that this happens about every single time i go to the movies. its not always outright savage representations though. a lot of times its a subtle exoticism or mystery attached to people of color. i guess you either see it or you don't.


It's a sensitive issue for sure. I don't want to sway you any more or ruin the rest of it for ya- I feel like I covered what I wanted to say pretty accurately in the last post. We'd love to hear what you think if you do check it out though...
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:46 am
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box johnson



Joined: 25 Nov 2008
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Jared Paul wrote:
Who are the foil bad guys to the mostly all white racist soldiers running around killing and beating people? Why the super violent all back local gang of course. And they're all evil and exploitative of the residents of the ghetto like District 9, and of course they smuggle guns, and swindle and beat the aliens for fun, and naturally the leader is the wickedest of all... super scary with a half crazed medicine woman crawling around on the ground telling him to eat alien body parts in order to transform into one of them.


You're right, I've probably (and unfairly) attributed some of the criticisms of this movie to you. I don't know too much about you, and it was easy to read your post as some protest song a white guy wrote about Katrina. My bad.

This chunk of your post is what I'd like to talk about. I thought the main fault of the movie is that you have this truly interesting setting (JHB) but do relatively nothing with it. I don't feel this was an inaccurate portrayal of a faction in Africa, but I see your point that it may have been unfair to use this as a vehicle in the movie. In the same breath, to condemn a movie that takes place in South Africa for having gangsters "of color" is about as blockheaded as saying that a Woody Allen movie shouldn't cast Jews in such a finicky light.
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:09 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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box johnson wrote:
Jared Paul wrote:
Who are the foil bad guys to the mostly all white racist soldiers running around killing and beating people? Why the super violent all back local gang of course. And they're all evil and exploitative of the residents of the ghetto like District 9, and of course they smuggle guns, and swindle and beat the aliens for fun, and naturally the leader is the wickedest of all... super scary with a half crazed medicine woman crawling around on the ground telling him to eat alien body parts in order to transform into one of them.


You're right, I've probably (and unfairly) attributed some of the criticisms of this movie to you. I don't know too much about you, and it was easy to read your post as some protest song a white guy wrote about Katrina. My bad.

This chunk of your post is what I'd like to talk about. I thought the main fault of the movie is that you have this truly interesting setting (JHB) but do relatively nothing with it. I don't feel this was an inaccurate portrayal of a faction in Africa, but I see your point that it may have been unfair to use this as a vehicle in the movie. In the same breath, to condemn a movie that takes place in South Africa for having gangsters "of color" is about as blockheaded as saying that a Woody Allen movie shouldn't cast Jews in such a finicky light.


Right. It makes sense that they would use the Nigerian as a gun-toting, abusive, group of ghetto-tyrants in this movie, given that this is what usually happens in similar real life situations. Keep in mind also that the Nigerians aren't portrayed in a disproportionately disparaging light: the corporation (I can't remember the name) is mostly made up of crazed white men, where the one prominent black guy who accompanies the lead character during the relocation is the only one portrayed with a conscience. I'd say the corporation was much more bent on destruction and injustice than the Nigerians. Not everything that happens in a movie is a deliberate or incidental display of racism attempting to subtly perpetuate ignorance.
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:19 am
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Jared Paul



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Captiv8 wrote:
Right. It makes sense that they would use the Nigerian as a gun-toting, abusive, group of ghetto-tyrants in this movie, given that this is what usually happens in similar real life situations. Keep in mind also that the Nigerians aren't portrayed in a disproportionately disparaging light:


This is exactly what I'm talking about:
"It makes sense that they would use the Nigerian as a gun-toting, abusive, group of ghetto-tyrants in this movie,given that this is what usually happens in similar real life situations."

What similar real life situations? Alien ghettos that are easily exploitable?
Or any disadvantaged/displaced population within Johannesburg, Sourth Africa, or any African nation?
And is it really USUALLY "the Nigerian," as you put it?
Do you have facts to back that up?
Africa is the second largest continent on the planet and Nigeria isn't ANYWHERE near Johannesburg. It's almost 3,000 miles away... Like the distance between New York and California. And though there are certainly violent organized crime groups/gangs dominated by members of Nigerian descent in Johannesburg, there are also many gangs there with many different members from many different places for many different reasons... any qualification as to why "the Nigerians" are the key bad guys in District 9 and what factors led to their "gang" being so violent could have helped to contextualize the movie and made for a less generalized depiction.

The gangs were perhaps "not displayed in a disproportionately disparaging light" but that doesn't really make it any better for me at all. The more I think about the movie and the more I go over it, the more I'm sure. It was a really good film, but for me, it was definitely a little too easy to throw in the "savage gang of ultra violent, barbaric, greed driven 'Nigerians" complete with alien cock-fights, Voo Doo, and insane desire to eat alien flesh.

The violent soldiers had at least some members with a conscience. And also, they weren't all white either. Those are two not so subtle disproportionalities right off the bat.


*And again, to clarify (mostly for Box), I never condemned the movie. Each one of my posts has expressed that I thought it was quality stuff for the most part. But there's a difference between having a story set in Johannesburg that features "Nigerians" as a violent gang, and the nearly perfect western nightmare characetures of 'black bad guys from scary African nations' displayed in District 9. And I'd be lying if I said I hadn't noticed these things and felt uneasy about them. Or if I didn't see the similarity in the two Jackson films.
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:31 pm
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passenger



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
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man i'm glad i don't look into things as much as some of you guys...
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:57 pm
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z-spot22



Joined: 19 Dec 2003
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passenger wrote:
man i'm glad i don't look into things as much as some of you guys...


saw it last night and loved it for what it was.....a good movie
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:02 pm
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Neuro
A champion of Kurtis SP


Joined: 19 Jul 2002
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passenger wrote:
man i'm glad i don't look into things as much as some of you guys...


for real though
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:32 pm
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
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passenger wrote:
man i'm glad i don't look into things as much as some of you guys...


I know, right? Then you might have to examine some of your unspoken assumptions about the world, or consider the impact of media on your worldview. That would be so lame.
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:38 pm
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box johnson



Joined: 25 Nov 2008
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Jared Paul wrote:

What similar real life situations? Alien ghettos that are easily exploitable?
Or any disadvantaged/displaced population within Johannesburg, Sourth Africa, or any African nation?

And is it really USUALLY "the Nigerian," as you put it?
Do you have facts to back that up?
Africa is the second largest continent on the planet and Nigeria isn't ANYWHERE near Johannesburg. It's almost 3,000 miles away... Like the distance between New York and California. And though there are certainly violent organized crime groups/gangs dominated by members of Nigerian descent in Johannesburg, there are also many gangs there with many different members from many different places for many different reasons... any qualification as to why "the Nigerians" are the key bad guys in District 9 and what factors led to their "gang" being so violent could have helped to contextualize the movie and made for a less generalized depiction.

The gangs were perhaps "not displayed in a disproportionately disparaging light" but that doesn't really make it any better for me at all. The more I think about the movie and the more I go over it, the more I'm sure. It was a really good film, but for me, it was definitely a little too easy to throw in the "savage gang of ultra violent, barbaric, greed driven 'Nigerians" complete with alien cock-fights, Voo Doo, and insane desire to eat alien flesh.

The violent soldiers had at least some members with a conscience. And also, they weren't all white either. Those are two not so subtle disproportionalities right off the bat.


*And again, to clarify (mostly for Box), I never condemned the movie. Each one of my posts has expressed that I thought it was quality stuff for the most part. But there's a difference between having a story set in Johannesburg that features "Nigerians" as a violent gang, and the nearly perfect western nightmare characetures of 'black bad guys from scary African nations' displayed in District 9. And I'd be lying if I said I hadn't noticed these things and felt uneasy about them. Or if I didn't see the similarity in the two Jackson films.

I could buy your offense taken if there was a Nigerian prince with large sums of money for the aliens if they could help him get to their planet. This, however, seems hypersensitive to me. Who was going to come in and do the hustling, guys from New Jersey?

I didn't need the back story of how the gang rose to power over 20 years. Undoubtedly, they ran competition out over time from all kinds of other countries you would have found equally offensive. How would a gang do that? Probably some ultra violence, barbarism and greed. You have to be crazy to live down the block from the aliens you're robbing, right?

The history of Africa is chalked full of corruption and exploitation, are you kidding me? I met people there with stories that made the Nigerians look like saints. I don't know how to better explain to you how dead wrong you are about this, and how small you look feigning horror about the portrayal of a warlord.
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:41 pm
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
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box johnson wrote:

I could buy your offense taken if there was a Nigerian prince with large sums of money for the aliens if they could help him get to their planet. This, however, seems hypersensitive to me. Who was going to come in and do the hustling, guys from New Jersey?

I didn't need the back story of how the gang rose to power over 20 years. Undoubtedly, they ran competition out over time from all kinds of other countries you would have found equally offensive. How would a gang do that? Probably some ultra violence, barbarism and greed. You have to be crazy to live down the block from the aliens you're robbing, right?

The history of Africa is chalked full of corruption and exploitation, are you kidding me? I met people there with stories that made the Nigerians look like saints. I don't know how to better explain to you how dead wrong you are about this, and how small you look feigning horror about the portrayal of a warlord.


I don't think idea is that Nigerian gangs don't exist, or that some group of (black) Africans wouldn't attempt to fill a power vacuum in an alien ghetto. The point is that the depiction plays on every Western stereotype of African "savagery." In fact, there are about 3 "types" of black people in this movie: 1) Kindly but ineffectual MNU workers, 2) Angry mobs, 3) Savage warlords and their hangers-on.
Types of white people: Complex, half-sympathetic protagonist. Evil, psychotic soldier. Naive, manipulated, but ultimately loving wife. Sociopathic corporate dudes. Academics. Compassionate protestors. (I might have missed that some of the "We love prawns" people or academics were black, but I don't think so).


Nobody is feigning shock that a movie which takes place in Africa depicts Africans. Nobody is trying to say that exploitation and corruption don't exist in Africa. It's pretty disingenuous to act like that's the point of contention. The point of contention is, "Is there or is there not a racist portrayal of black people or Africans in this movie?" Reasonable people can disagree.

The main thing I disagree with you about, though, is this:


Quote:

Not everything that happens in a movie is a deliberate or incidental display of racism attempting to subtly perpetuate ignorance.


I think this misses the point. I'm glad you included the word "incidental" because it's an interesting distinction. I don't think anything about racism is incidental. Perhaps "unintentional" but that doesn't say much about its effects/meaning, only its intent. My analysis of race in this movie (and I think Jared Paul's, too) was not intended to accuse Blomkamp of racist intent or attempting to "subtly perpetuate ignorance." In fact, I think the core of this movie is a critique of apartheid, an attack on intolerance and hatred of "the other", and a pretty honest look at some forms of social interaction, conflict resolution, exploitation of refugees, etc. But a movie doesn't need to ATTEMPT to perpetuate a racist worldview or stereotype in order to do so.
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:48 pm
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metachronos



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It seems to me that most of the people in that movie were evil as fuck, regardless of race.
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:15 pm
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Captiv8



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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1998624.stm

This is about the Bakassi Boys, whom you can also research on wikipedia and a lot of other online resources.

I could post a bunch of links about Nigerian gang violence here but a simple google search will verify this. It's also worth noting that the Nigerian gangs have been operating in Italy for a while now, which, while not as far as South Africa, is an entirely different continent with in a country with intact Mafia dealings.

http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2008-01/2008-01-15-voa41.cfm

Check this article out for why Nigerians are in South Africa:

http://www.iss.co.za/pubs/ASR/8No6/MainTrends.html

Here's the main paragraph you'll need:

"Nigerian criminal groups

Police investigators confirm that Nigerian crime syndicates now dominate the illicit trade in cocaine in South Africa. The first Nigerian syndicates established themselves in Johannesburg during the late 1980s, many of them consisting of illegal immigrants. They became prominent as cocaine dealers in about 1993 and, during the past three years, have moved into larger cities and towns throughout South Africa. It is estimated that between 45 000 and 100 000 Nigerians live in South Africa. According to the Nigerian High Commission, there are only 700 legally registered Nigerians in South Africa.13 The Nigerian syndicates have by now established a countrywide network of contacts and co-operation and continue to expand their activities.14 They have close links with Nigerians in South America, from where the bulk of cocaine is imported, but also with fellow countrymen in countries such as Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Japan and Switzerland.

Police at Johannesburg International Airport confiscated 30 716 kilograms of cocaine powder in 1994 and 218 070 kilograms in 1998.15 According to police of the narcotics unit in Johannesburg, they confiscated 339 kilograms of cocaine during the five months from 1 January to 31 May 1999 compared to 183 kilograms during the same period in 1998.16 Indicators therefore point to a significant expansion in the illicit trade in cocaine by Nigerian syndicates. According to the police, these syndicates have branched off into the cannabis trade in recent years and have since emerged as key exporters of Southern African cannabis to Europe.17 There are also indications that Nigerian syndicates are becoming involved in trafficking of heroin although still on a small scale at this stage.

A new phenomenon involving Nigerian syndicates is the kidnapping or killing of victims of the Nigerian 419 letter scams. The scam involves appeals to international businessmen requesting their help in the transfer of over-budgeted money in exchange for a promised percentage commission. In June 1999, three Nigerians, one Ghanaian and a South African were arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a Jordanian businessman who had been lured to South Africa and then kidnapped upon his arrival. His kidnappers demanded US $40 000 from his family for his release.18 Police are currently investigating seven similar cases of kidnapping. Four of the victims were foreign businessmen who were lured to South Africa and then kidnapped. Substantial ransoms were then demanded from their families. One of the victims was shot and killed."

I won't pretend to know much about any of these things, but I know they're happening. I don't think Blomkamp was out of line in having Nigerians gangs run their own racket in South Africa, given the real world precedent. Keep in mind also that we're talking about an ALIEN movie, where I think some license can be taken. So the Nigerian gangs had some bug cockfights. Did you notice that the aliens were betting on that too? I can agree that the voodoo thing was a bit much, but wasn't necessarily a reflection of the gang as a whole but their clearly crazed leader. In a movie about aliens as the Other, this fuss over Nigerian gangs is a load of bollocks, and I don't think it perpetuates anything that either isn't true. I didn't assume that all Africans, or at least all Nigerians, would a) form gangs, b) set up prostitution rings, c) believe in the magical powers of consuming alien flesh, and d) react with aliens (in the event of a visit) in a negative way after watching this movie. Maybe other people would be less understanding,but they probably wouldn't read into this film with such penetration either.
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:32 pm
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
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box johnson wrote:
Jared Paul wrote:

What similar real life situations? Alien ghettos that are easily exploitable?
Or any disadvantaged/displaced population within Johannesburg, Sourth Africa, or any African nation?

And is it really USUALLY "the Nigerian," as you put it?
Do you have facts to back that up?
Africa is the second largest continent on the planet and Nigeria isn't ANYWHERE near Johannesburg. It's almost 3,000 miles away... Like the distance between New York and California. And though there are certainly violent organized crime groups/gangs dominated by members of Nigerian descent in Johannesburg, there are also many gangs there with many different members from many different places for many different reasons... any qualification as to why "the Nigerians" are the key bad guys in District 9 and what factors led to their "gang" being so violent could have helped to contextualize the movie and made for a less generalized depiction.

The gangs were perhaps "not displayed in a disproportionately disparaging light" but that doesn't really make it any better for me at all. The more I think about the movie and the more I go over it, the more I'm sure. It was a really good film, but for me, it was definitely a little too easy to throw in the "savage gang of ultra violent, barbaric, greed driven 'Nigerians" complete with alien cock-fights, Voo Doo, and insane desire to eat alien flesh.

The violent soldiers had at least some members with a conscience. And also, they weren't all white either. Those are two not so subtle disproportionalities right off the bat.


*And again, to clarify (mostly for Box), I never condemned the movie. Each one of my posts has expressed that I thought it was quality stuff for the most part. But there's a difference between having a story set in Johannesburg that features "Nigerians" as a violent gang, and the nearly perfect western nightmare characetures of 'black bad guys from scary African nations' displayed in District 9. And I'd be lying if I said I hadn't noticed these things and felt uneasy about them. Or if I didn't see the similarity in the two Jackson films.

I could buy your offense taken if there was a Nigerian prince with large sums of money for the aliens if they could help him get to their planet. This, however, seems hypersensitive to me. Who was going to come in and do the hustling, guys from New Jersey?

I didn't need the back story of how the gang rose to power over 20 years. Undoubtedly, they ran competition out over time from all kinds of other countries you would have found equally offensive. How would a gang do that? Probably some ultra violence, barbarism and greed. You have to be crazy to live down the block from the aliens you're robbing, right?

The history of Africa is chalked full of corruption and exploitation, are you kidding me? I met people there with stories that made the Nigerians look like saints. I don't know how to better explain to you how dead wrong you are about this, and how small you look feigning horror about the portrayal of a warlord.


No need to sling insults papi. I've been nice the whole way. I told you that I liked the movie a lot, but that some of it made me uncomfortable. I'm satisfied with the way I explained things. And for consistency's sake:


Quote:

*And again, to clarify (mostly for Box), I never condemned the movie. Each one of my posts has expressed that I thought it was quality stuff for the most part. But there's a difference between having a story set in Johannesburg that features "Nigerians" as a violent gang, and the nearly perfect western nightmare characetures of 'black bad guys from scary African nations' displayed in District 9. And I'd be lying if I said I hadn't noticed these things and felt uneasy about them. Or if I didn't see the similarity in the two Jackson films.


Turnpike put a finer point on it, and I'm in pretty much complete agreement with his patient and reasonable analysis.

Fuck a Warlord. And the nearly unspeakable atrocities they incur on innocent people. For sure. But at the same time, a watchful eye must kept on the response and feelings that come about in response to our fears and anger as well.

I'm sorry if that pisses you off. Or if it makes me look any more "dead wrong" or "small" for "feigning horror over the portrayal of war lords." Even though I did not feign, nor truthfully emote, anything like horror of over the depiction of the "Nigerians" in District 9, only a mild concern and slight un-comfortability, while repeatedly expressing that I like the movie.
Post Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:42 pm
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Buddy Peace



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passenger wrote:
man i'm glad i don't look into things as much as some of you guys...


I think doing this is one of the beautiful and powerful aspects of films. You have to get a little bit deeper inside them to really see what they're getting at - it's not a mundane or boring thing to do, it's actually really exciting and sometimes you can dig up some real gold. I've only seen one trailer for this which gave nothing away really (they made it look like Independence Day - bear in mind this is the UK advert and they've only just begun the promo!), but whether it's a film you love or one you hate, there is always, always more going on beneath the surface. And it's interesting investigating it too.

I'm not saying debates must start as soon as you've hit the stop button - of course not - but sometimes films stay with you for days, years, even your whole life, and trying to find out why can be one of the most rewarding aspects of film. Whether you just think it through in your mind or talk it out, you can get some real goodness out of it sometimes.
Post Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:08 am
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