Film Spotlight: Immigration in Film and Literature

Written by: John Heffernan

Watching movies in the academic context is an amazingly different way of looking at something that is seemingly seen during a more relaxing setting such as in a movie theater. I had heard of the film District 9 (Blomkamp, 2009) by director Neill Blomkamp and I thought it was another generic monster movie. I was wrong in that case, the film has stronger themes and meanings behind it, that allows it to have greater importance than other seemingly mindless monster movies. Also, having the film be in the sort of found footage handheld camera style it allows it to feel more real, which is odd because one would think that the heavy amount of computer generated aliens would make it unbelievable. Furthermore, I believe that having the main character and other characters be played by actors who are not well known adds to this feeling of reality. It honestly turns the science fiction genre into science non-fiction which is an amazing job on the part of the director Neill Blomkamp, and from seeing the other movies that he has worked on, it seems to be an underlining theme of his works. The other thing that stood out to me was how the film really challenged and evolved the nature of the majority and minority relationship.

I also thought that having the main character slowly turn from the majority into the minority, which turned his allies against him. It was a fascinating role reversal that had not been seen in many of the films that we have seen in films and texts prior. It allows the viewer to see both points of view from the view of the main character, one from the point of the majority vs. minority, then minority vs. majority. Having this be such a fluid relationship really allows the film greater liberties in terms of the way that it crafts its plot. Looking at a film that originally was probably seen by the public as just another generic monster science fiction movie through the academic view had a large impact on myself. As a Cinema Studies minor I have noticed that not all films are just your typical blockbuster. This film showed me that just because you think a film is just another alien movie, does not mean that it is.


District 9. Directed by Neill Blomkamp, Performances by Sharlto Copley, David James and Jason Cope, TriStar Pictures, 2009.

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