District 9 is a science fiction documentary style film directed by Neill Blomkamp in 2009, set in present time in Johannesburg, South Africa. District 9 uses stylistic techniques such as cinematography, sound, mise-en-scene and editing to make us, the audience, believe that the alien invasion redundant is truly happening in our world today. District 9 also uses strong documentary techniques to reel the audience in even further and to capture the audience’s attention in a very different style of science fiction never before seen in Hollywood. All of these techniques, along with how they are used to create realism, will be discussed in this essay.
The Cinematography used in District 9 is used extremely well to create realism, but in one aspect also reminds us that this is a fictional film. This is evident from the very opening scene when the main character, Wikus, played by Sharlto Copley, is being interviewed. He is not quite ready yet for the interview but the camera is still rolling, he is adjusting his microphone and asking the cameraman when to start, it’s making the audience feel that this is “real” and rough footage but how does this “remind us that this is a fictional film”?. Throughout the film excerpt the shots are continually changing but mostly all are consistent with techniques used to create realism. There are many medium shots presented as interviews with different scientists, colleagues and family of Wikus. There is also “News Footage” shown in a typical news broadcast format with the bulletin and the news channel at the bottom. There were also a lot of wide shots taken from a helicopter, mostly showing District 9 as a whole. Each sentence here jumps to a new topic. Don’t just describe the techniques, take time to analyse the meanings created by the techniques you describe here.
Apart from these scenes, the remainder of the time the film was shot using a cameraman and a hand held camera. The camera man, Trent, would follow Wikus and a few others around while they searched District 9. The camera would jump back and forth from person to person, a lot like in the film recently viewed, Festen; A Celebration, which was also trying to create a realism/documentary style film. But this film uses realism in a very different way. Explain this. The camera would also choose to use close ups of people’s faces, usually when they weren’t speaking, more when they were scared or thinking, to help the audience really get up close and personal with that particular character at that time. For example, in the van, just before Wikus and the others get out and start their mission in District 9, the camera does a close up on both Wikus and Fundiswa (his second in charge) while they take a breath before they jump out of the van. Focusing on their faces lets the audience realise how scared they are. The camera also constantly jumps around, loses focus and the image becomes blurred when they are running, or if someone hits the camera away (which happens quite often). All of these techniques are used to remind us of the hand held, documentary style camera work and try and make us believe that what we are seeing is real. Explore further how this creates immediacy, which is a part of realism.
There are a few very brief scenes in the movie where the camera involves only the aliens. The camera work stops being a documentary type film and acts as if it is a Hollywood Science Fiction blockbuster. During scenes when we are watching the aliens interact with only each other and no humans, the camera becomes like ‘normal’ films; “invisible”. This is where the Science Fiction genre takes over and the documentary style departs. good For example, when the aliens discover an important part of their equipment and they are trying to fix it, the camera is no longer shaky and you are very aware that Trent is not the...