Capitalism and wasted lives in District 9 and Elysium

Mazierska, Ewa Hanna orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4385-8264 and Suppia, Alfredo (2016) Capitalism and wasted lives in District 9 and Elysium. In: Red Alert Marxist Approaches to Science Fiction Cinema. Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series . Wayne State University Press, pp. 121-148. ISBN 9780814340110

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This essay analyzes District 9 (2009) and Elysium (2013) by Neill Blomkamp through the lens of two related concepts, humans-as-waste and human rights, both rooted in Marxist writings. Blomkamp's oeuvre is particularly suitable to our investigation, because this South African director has consistently employed science fictional tropes in his cinematic parables about class struggle in an extrapolated post-industrial, capitalist context. What is of specific interest to him is the erosion of human rights following accumulation of capital through dispossession, technological advancement, growth in population, and migra­tion. However, in the two films he employs markedly different styles to create a discourse on contemporary capitalism as a system of strict social demarcation. In our discussion we will attempt to identify what connects and what divides these two films. Before focusing on Blomkamp's dystopian future, it is worth presenting some original Marxian and post-Marxian remarks on the human­as-waste condition and human rights under the rise of bourgeois capitalism

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