District 9 and post colonialism

Topics: Colonialism, District 9, Postcolonialism Pages: 2 (783 words) Published: March 3, 2015
Post-colonialism is an ‘after the events’ analysis detailing the impacts of colonialism and imperialism, putting an emphasis on the voice of those who were colonized, yet also involving the voice of the colonisers. The 2009 South African, science-fiction, mock-documentary film ‘District 9’ is about an alien ship running out of fuel and becoming stranded over the city of Johannesburg. The extraterrestrials are forced to live in slum-like conditions and are not allowed the same rights as humans. The film is directed by Neill Blomkamp and is allegorical of apartheid in South Africa, relating directly to colonial times and therefore post-colonialism. It also touches upon key components of the post-colonial concept such as hegemony, othering, colonialism, cultural dominance, marginilisation, stereotyping, cultural assumptions, essentialism, ethnocentrism, Diaspora and subaltern voice. Through the directors demonstration of these issues it becomes extremely obvious that District 9 encompasses and communicates aspects of post-colonialism.

During one of the film’s opening scenes, Blomkamp uses a panning-aerial shot to exhibit the non-typical Johannesburg skyline. This is done to accentuate the meaning of the dialogue throughout this scene which clearly addresses the issue of hegemony with the quote: “To everyone’s surprise, the ship didn’t come to a stop over Manhattan or Washington or Chicago… but instead coasted to a halt directly over the city of Johannesburg”. The concept of hegemony relates precisely to the post-colonial study and therefore District 9 conveys this feature of post-colonialism.

The director uses a series of continuity cuts to illustrate the othering of the aliens and the apparent culture clash and xenophobia towards the creatures. He also uses the shaky cam film technique to create a sense of documentary realism. As seen in the PowerPoint, the other mentality is exceedingly observable as the aliens have become victim to a sort of...
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