Writer, Poet, Social Commentator
So I am watching movies again.
Yes, I have always sat before television screens and seen fast moving pictures till I dozed off and then try to recall just where I stopped watching. But that’s not me.
When I watch a movie, I watch it; prologue, epilogue, credits. I pause, rewind, grab a dictionary and all that, then I save it for later and watch it again. In the end, I know every detail every thought about the movie. I recite favourite conversations and I feel good. Now that’s the ‘me’ that my friends complain about.
Some of my favourite movies; Time Traveller’s Wife (you can find out why here https://rikimarutenchu.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/king-of-sorrow-now-there-are-two/), V for Vendetta, Shawshank Redemption, The Departed, A Walk to Remember, Forest Gump, Coming to America and many more, remain safely tucked away on my computer, ready to be retrieved and watched whenever I get the urge.
So recently, I watched Elysium (2013) featuring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. I liked Mr Damon so I went to see the movie: basically, in 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a luxurious space station called Elysium and the poor, who live on an overpopulated, devastated Earth. While residents on Earth are policed by ruthless androids, Elysian citizens live in comfort and regularly use man-sized medical devices called Med-Bays to keep them free of disease and help them live long – That’s the story.
I thought it was an average movie with nothing much to offer except pretty Matt’s face (for the Ladies) and some modern science fiction for the guys. It also made me more aware of the subtle, yet constant message being delivered surreptitiously by film makers in recent times: that there must be a plan for humans to live in space eventually. Perhaps this will happen during the 7 years A.C (After Christ).
Several movies have delivered this thought as can be seen in After Earth (2013), Oblivion (2013) etc.
Whether the movie writers were doing what writers were called to do, that is to create a thought, promote it and direct society, or the plan for outer space relocation was already in progress I could not say. The chicken or the egg?
Still I watched the movie in silence at first and then later in an interpreter role as the strange lady right next to me in the theatre leaned across and asked me Fifteen minutes into the movie: ‘Please what’s the title of this movie?’ I smirked before responding. Not for long though as my response only led to more questions: Why did he do that? What is radiation? Will he die? Did he die? Why did he die? What is the meaning of Elysium? I didn’t ask any questions and No, I didn’t ask for her number.
But in this transcriber capacity, I noticed the most profound thing in the entire movie: in the beautiful, luxurious space station called Elysium, there were no blacks or latinos or coloured people! But amongst the poor, who lived on an overpopulated, devastated Earth, was an innumerable show of coloured skin.
I do not know much about American Politics but then I began to wonder; was there more to this movie? Was it a portrayal of the current state of the earth and its wealth distribution? Was this a statement in agreement with the comedian Chris Rock that there are no wealthy black or coloured people in the world? Was this an affirmation of all that we knew about the world and its outlook towards the colour of a person’s skin?
Or was the movie Elysium just plain Racist?