Elysium Director Cites Apartheid for His Class War Themes

Elysium Director Cites Apartheid for His Class War Themes

Neill Blomkamp, director of the new socialist sci-fi movie Elysium, has pushed back against criticism of the film’s class warfare themes, suggesting that his life growing up in apartheid South Africa is the inspiration for his focus on inequality. 

It’s an odd resort to political correctness for a director whose low-budget blockbuster, District 9, punctured the PC bubble around race relations in post-apartheid South Africa.

Whereas District 9 broke new ground by portraying, albeit allegorically, the problem of xenophobia among South Africa’s newly-liberated black citizens, Elysium resorts to a familiar villain: the white, ex-military South African gunslinger, a type dating back to Lethal Weapon 2

The real stories of former South African soldiers are actually quite fascinating, but Blomkamp seems more interested in pushing a political theme.

It might be more accurate to say that Elysium reflects class division in the new South Africa, which has become–like Obama’s “post-racial” America–even more unequal than it was before. 

In today’s South Africa, a multiracial elite hunkers down in wealthy fortresses while large encampments of impoverished black people surround major cities and even small towns. South Africa’s socialist policies are largely to blame.

But instead of learning the lessons of state-dominated economies and corrupt redistribution schemes, we are doomed to repeat them–never blaming the re-distributors themselves. 

Blomkamp also returns to the immigration theme in Elysium, taking the open-borders side. In an interview with Wired, he even compares Los Angeles to apartheid-era Johannesburg. 

Perhaps he meant the Hollywood caricatures of both.