Class Notes – May 1, 2014

District 9 – issues of race
— discrimination against race — dehumanization
Prawn as derogatory term
I27 forms – cf. I9 form — off-planet — immigrants
cf treatment of immigrants to US
aliens segregated into ghettos
unlawfully evicted from properties
cf. rights in America except if groups considered property (cf. slaves in 18th/19th c. US)
pamphlet – tents — Japanese internment camps – forced out of towns and cities — WWII/Pearl Harbor

parallel to Nazi regime – destructive propaganda, dehumanizing Jews – concentration camps – cf. aliens being shot at if doing antyh8ing wrong

start w/aliens as grotesque — find sympathy for them

hinted at other movies in sci-fi genre. These aliens not necessarily more advanced – helpless
beg of movie – inversion

how media affects our views of things

how do you symbolize filth? cockroaches — correlate w/Nazi, slavery in Am — characterize Jews as dirty

strip of identity by giving English name – Christopher Johnson

sexual connection – smears of Wikus having sex w/a prawn, seeming “tainted” – infected

black magic – Nigerian

cat food – crack cocaine.
hinting at drugs being pushed into black communities after black power 70s.
minds messed up b/c of cat food

the “Other” — or “othering”
liminal / liminality –

colonialization / colonization

prawns subjugated

mercenaries – cf. Iraq

paramilitary force

bureaucratic issues – sign paper.


eminent domain

human rights organization




compare wikus in district 9 w/Lilith in Dawn
reject that part of themselves
where do they start, where do they go – wikus trying to chop off arm

do these characters become more human through their transformations/melding w/other species?

How do each of the characters grow:
Wikus –

wikus – self-interest

humane – empathy, compassion
extrapolating from own species

District 9 – contamination
Dawn – transformation

Dawn – aliens are manipulative, controlling, invasive
District 9 – aliens are submissive, oppressed, victimized

but in each film, a human being becomes mixed with the aliens

District 9 – play of corporate power – D9 as critique of capitalism – cf. Occupy Wall Street, rhetoric around protestors, cleaning out square

style – documentary style, cinema verite
— amount of times Wikus says to shut off camera
— suggests that there will be a sanitized version of this film that will be shown to public

thick moments

dehumanization –
markings/tattoos – no clothes

Question at the end of the movie – what will Christopher Johnson do if he comes back?

Paper 2 due May 15

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