“Elysium,” Matt Damon’s next big budget summer blockbuster opens this Friday (August 9), and according to early reviews is all about how the rich exploit the poor. What we are already seeing from the sci-fi film’s star and director (Neil Blomkamp), is a startling lack of self-awareness. They apparently have no idea that their own film attacks everything they both stand for. But now we know — thanks to a buried LA Times lead — that the wealthy director had his working class crew film ‘Elysium” in a toxic environment:
To make “Elysium” was in many ways to live it — a set in Vancouver provided the space habitat, a massive landfill in Mexico City was Earth. At one point a union representing some of the crew objected to the toxicity of the working conditions in the dump, and the production had to scrape off the top layer of silt and replace it with fake prop garbage. Before going to lunch, cast and crew had to pass through a clean zone.
Naturally, the LA Times laughs off the horror of making human beings work in a toxic dump as a way to “live” the movie; as though that is some kind of artistic-plus for Blomkamp.
It is also worth nothing that while “Elysium” is all about making the United States look awful (it is set in Los Angeles), there already is a toxic dump somewhere not-in-America.
At any rate, Blomkamp’s willingness to have his working class crew work in a toxic dump actually is “living” the movie, just not in the way the LA Times would have you believe.
Blomkamp exploiting the working class to get what he wants is what you might call “going the Full-Elysium.”
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