Think of it, aliens arriving on Earth, landing & hovering over Johannesburg. It doesn’t get more original than that.
Having an estimated budget of $30million and Peter Jacksons name attached to anything (besides a clothing label or food chain) can’t do much harm either.
If I were writing a thesis on the most original piece of modern day cinema, especially a science fiction, I would focus solely on a film like ‘District 9’
In a country, so rich with incredible culture and ideas, plagued by violence and ghosts of the past, this is the first film to explore that route, somewhat differently.
There have been so many films produced about the horrors of apartheid and the old South Africa. There have also been many films produced about life in slums around the world, (i.e. Slumdog Millionaire- India & City of God- Brazil). Don’t get me wrong, both films where superb! But when it comes to originality, ‘D9’ has to take the cake. ‘D9’ is the first South African film that feels international. That’s why I’m convinced it’s going to be nominated for an Original Screenplay Oscar.
The first word that comes to mind after witnessing this piece of art is AWESOME! For me, this is the film of the year!
After watching the film, the first time, in one of the worst cinemas in Johannesburg (namely Hyde Park, dodgy sound, an irritating mark on the screen, bad service etc), I decided before I wrote this blog, a good excuse would be to watch it again, this time at Sandton City. It was like watching a different film!
‘D9’ totally breaks the mould of the usual science fiction genre.
Being a South African, watching the film in a South African cinema, chuckling at hidden nuances, it made me constantly question not only how this film will be accepted internationally but more importantly how the international audiences are going to perceive Johannesburg. Lets not kid, this film isn’t going to do wonders to the South African Tourism trade. People need to realize that not all of Johannesburg is the way it is portrayed in the film. It’s done in a mocumentary style that needed to over dramatize certain aspects.
Friends of mine that live abroad, all ex pats, now living in London, Australia, Canada and the USA shared the same sentiments. We came to the consensus that we all laughed in certain parts, due to the understanding of the characters and culture, but at the same time, we all felt extremely disturbed and horrified by the realism that was portrayed in the film. The acting, direction, art direction, cinematography, music score, sound and edit, all contribute towards this.
Word on the street is that internationally, this film has been marketed to death. Billboards, trailers, viral campaigns, posters on buses, tube stations, stickers etc. It’s everywhere! And it deserves to be!
The box office figures and reviews speak for itself!
When one door closes… another one opens.
Before the film was released, I personally saw the MNU vehicles parked outside a local shopping centre, as well as numerous posters on lifts saying: ‘No Humans Allowed!’ I knew this film was going to be a smash!
I’m jealous I wasn’t part of it!
The second time I saw the film, I was with my director as well as clients we work with on a post production level, we stayed and watched the entire credits roll. It was an incredible feeling seeing all the familiar South African crew members’ names, up on the big screen!
The South African film industry respects and admires you all!