It’s Tuesday, and that means I’m trying to figure out which Oscar nominated Best Picture to do next, and also caught in the Tuesday-ness of life, which means I’m behind. With nine nominees to pick from, you’d think it’s be an easy choice; a so-called “target rich environment.” Alas, the choice is not easy. So, I think I’ll just go with aliens. Tuesday is good for aliens.
Of course, there are two alien movies nominated in the Best Picture category this year, so, which one should I pick? I decided on District 9.
It has been nearly 3 years since the “perspective reassignment operation” which altered Wikus van de Merwe. He has spent the time enjoying cat food, and struggling for survival in District 10. He is wondering if he will ever be reunited with his wife.
All around him he sees the piles of discarded scrap and garbage, the rows and rows of sheet metal structures pretending to be dwellings, and a group of Nigerian scammers. He thought about his father-in-law, and wondered what lies he might be dreaming up today. He was surprised to have learned, after all those years of working for MNU that its main product was lies.
He’d learned that he’d produced his own set of half-truths and justifications, but, the worst part was that he’d been his own primary customer, purchasing a measure of happy lies to get him through the day.
For a few weeks since that fateful day he couldn’t being himself to do much more than sit in the filth of District 10, wallowing in self pity and the guilt of his infanticide. Later he decided that was pointless, and didn’t help him purchase cat food, so, he made a plan, videlicet, he secretly went into business.
Using the abundant shrapnel littering his ghetto home, he made delicate flowers out of thin metal. These he sold on the folk art black market, staying under MNU’s radar, and using the proceeds of his venture to provide cat food and supplies for thousands of his fellow refugees.
His designs, which made millions of rand under the banner of “prawn art,” targeted wealthy patrons who themselves were guilt-ridden enough to purchase the “insider” artwork, but not motivated by their guilt to do anything more meaningful. Their consciences eased and their social status as compassionate, concerned humanitarians established, they could allow themselves to proceed with their own lives in self-satisfied peace.
Even if he did return to his wife someday, he would still need a job, wouldn’t he? And this one seemed to be more than profitable. Did that make him a profiteer? He didn’t know or care. Certainly, if he stayed here, he wouldn’t feel the least bit guilty about using the situation. Other things haunted him, perhaps, but not this.
So, for the time being, he simply did like all life does, he carried on.
I found this difficult to write about without giving too much away about the movie for those who haven’t seen it. Hope I succeeded.
Oh, and gosh, guilt is a total downer. Cat food can lighten things only so much.
videlicet / Vih – DE – liss – IT / That is to say, namely.