District 9: Faking the Future

September 20, 2009

District 9—a scary, literally-allegorical (what is that!), sci-fi blood-fest—is also told, sort of, through the structure of a fake doc. It’s also terrific.

Because the faked reality is a speculative future (albeit based ever so closely on the reality of re-location in post-apartheid South Africa), rather than say an ever-so modified present (or even the speculative past of Inglorious Bastards, another matter entirely),  the meaning and function of its phony footage becomes counter-intuitively less ironic than the banal replicas I’ve been worrying about of late.

Simply put,  we know that the fake doc footage of aliens residing in prison-camps in Johannesburg can be nothing other than fake. Since there’s no doubt or even joke about any possibility of authenticity the uncertainty and uncaring that creates the pomo YouTube mush I’ve been fixated on is effectively blocked. Instead, the link to another real of apartheid and occupation (beyond South Africa and including Iraq and Israel) becomes a solid enough stake through Neill Blomkamp’s not-even-subtle replacing (through an allegory that trumps fakery) of one sort of alien for another.

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