“District 9” director Neill Blomkamp talks to Ny Mag.


I think we’re going to have to face facts here, Summer Movies, this summer has been chock full of very bad movies.  Public Enemies was a colossal snore fest, Harry Potter had terrible story changes, and boring teen angst,  and Funny People looks spectacularly un-funny. So, I think  the last hope of the summer for a quality summer movie is District 9.

District 9 is shot documentary style involving aliens stranded in Johannesburg,  living in huts, with a apartheid theme running throughout the marketing.  Blomkamp, a South-African 29-year old originally made a short film called “Alive in Joburg” which Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) saw and afforded Blomkamp the facilities to produce the full-length District 9.  Blomkamp spoke to Will Leitch of New York Magazine:

The film has real-life parallels. The aliens in the film are invaded by Johannesburg residents, which is similar to what happened with Zimbabwean migrant workers last year. Are you worried an action movie with explosions and cool robots might trivialize the issue? 

Within days of us rolling film in Johannesburg in 2008, we woke up to headlines of attacks—something similar to genocide, with Zimbabweans being lynched, burned, and macheted to death. It was no longer that the poorer residents of Johannesburg had issues with illegal immigrants, which is how it had been for years, including when I did the short film. I hope the people of South Africa understand that we set out to make something based on an earlier piece of history. But, yes, the film is about issues I grew up with—like segregation and xenophobia. I’m proud of the fact that we deal with those issues without beating you over the head with it. 

What I really like about this is that its rooted in good science fiction. Shows like Battlestar Galactica and seemingly this, all play in a fantastic setting but have contemporary themes. That’s what makes good science fiction, and it seems like District 9 plays in that arena.

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