My do those aliens look real

During the first half, District 9 were flooded with forged interview footages of “expert” discussion and videos taken from MNU’s database

Fake news segments with headlines and commentaries was also a common trait

Equally common were direct and even physical interactions between Wickus and the camera

These scenes clearly owed much from the style of documentaries and news reports, which are generally perceived as objective records of reality (Hoffmann 1998, 159).  As such, they worked to enhance the sense of reality and immediacy present in the film, erasing any trace of it being scripted and well-rehearsed.

Only ten minutes into the film, viewers were already presented with insect-like, anthropomorphic aliens.  Furthermore, these aliens are shown mostly in explicit, frontal, full-bodied shots.  The aliens were portrayed in fine details, and their physical appearance and movements also bore indexical characteristic with their human counterparts.

The revolution brought about by CGI technologies is its capability to allow filmmakers near-total control over the light, texture and movement of virtual images, granting them a convincingly authentic status (Prince 1996, 34).  As a result of technological innovation, the aliens were able to pass as a natural and uncontested part of the film despite being quite fantastical creatures.  They were not real but rather perceptually realistic, acquiring significant degrees of photographic realism while remaining imaginary correspondences (Prince 1996, 34).

The “realness” of these aliens brought a heightened sense of realism to the film.  Yet it was a strange kind of realism.  Viewers were aware that they were only watching a movie, not a documentary, that the characters are fictional, that events were not real and neither were the aliens.  They were aware of the fact that, just like the documentaries whose style the film was imitating, impressions of reality could actually be heavily mediated (Pierson 2002, 103), and in this case entirely fictitious.


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