Nigerian Information Minister Dora Akunyili has asked movie houses in the capital of Abuja to stop screening Neill Blomkamp’s District 9. It seems they’re not happy about the film’s portrayal of Nigerians as gangsters and cannibals.
“We have directed that they should stop public screening of the film,” Akunyili said. “We are not happy about it because it portrays Nigeria in bad light. We have written to the producer and distributor of the film, Sony Entertainment, expressing our displeasure and demanded an apology. We have asked that the areas where Nigeria and Obasanjo are mentioned should be edited from the film.”
Just in case you didn’t know, Obasanjo is the name of a former Nigerian President whilst Obesandjo is the name of the head Nigerian crime lord in the film.
No comment has been received from Sony and rightly so. Those that agree with the District 9 Hates Nigerians Facebook camp should lighten up. District 9 doesn’t single out all Nigerians anymore than it singles out all white people for being war mongering profiteers with zero morals or all scientists for their zombie-like inhumaneness.
The film quite expertly paints an ethical question on virtually everyone (human at least) that appears in the film – even the protagonist Wikus (Sharlto Copley) is painted in a poor light for most of the story.
Not all Nigerians see Blomkamp’s film as racist towards them, as evidenced by an intelligent article titled ‘Why District 9 isn’t racist against Nigerians’ written for the Guardian Film Blog by a Nigerian writer Here’s an excerpt from that article:
If District 9 really does hate Nigerians, it clearly hates its powerful, white characters even more. Objecting to Nigerians being portrayed as morally bankrupt criminals seems pointless when almost every group of characters in the film have little or no regard for the law.
The company in charge of shipping the aliens out of the country, MNU, and many of the white politicians giving the orders are invariably ignorant, double-crossing and corrupt. The soldiers come across as mind-controlled thugs, using violent threats and tricking aliens into signing dubious eviction notices. Scientists carry out underhand experiments on captured “Prawns”; the aliens arm themselves with illegal weapons and brawl in the streets.District 9 is neither racist nor xenophobic.
…South African director Neill Blomkamp has made an astonishingly thought-provoking and intelligent film that in turn assumes intelligent thinking from his audience.
To my mind that hits the nail on the head.