Author(s): Paul Jeffrey
Source: The Christian Century
20 April 2010
IN THE MOVIE District 9, an alien spaceship stalls in the skies above Johannesburg. After three months with no communication, South Africans decide to board the ship, only to find a million aliens who need rescuing. They move them to District 9, an area that’s a cross between a township and a refugee camp. But eventually the welcome for the aliens grows thin; the government forcibly relocates them to a remote area and brutally enforces their separation from the rest of the population.
District 9 evokes the worst of South Africa’s apartheid era, when people were treated as aliens in their own land. This painful mockumentary also depicts an international relief industry in which the inefficiency of the United Nations is replaced by the ruthless capability of a transnational corporation, which is also seeking the secret of the aliens’ ultrapowerful weapons technology. The film is an embarrassing indictment of how we treat the stranger.