I haven’t seen Elysium yet — it doesn’t open in the U.K. for a couple of weeks yet and man am I jonesing for it — but back in 2009, just before District 9 was released, I talked to Neill Blomkamp about what science fiction means to him. You can read that interview over at the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. I like this bit (which may have some bearing on Elysium):
Johanson: Is there one core aspect of science fiction that’s most important to you? When I think of science fiction, I look at it through this prism of, This is an experiment in figuring out what it means to be human. To me, science fiction is about seeing how much you can peel away and still be human.
Blomkamp: I’ve never thought of it that way before. I’m interested in all the different kinds of science fiction. I suppose you’re right. I suppose looking inward and finding out how much it’s about biology versus the soul, finding where the line is between human and nonhuman, may be at the crux of a lot of the best science fiction. But I think of science fiction just as a way to view topics and view ideas through a different lens. I think it’s just a refreshing way of looking at something.
Johanson: Sure, there are lots of ways to approach science fiction. Another way to look at it is that science fiction is never about the future, or about different planets, it about the way things are no. And you really drove that home here.
Blomkamp: That’s definitely more how I see it.
You may also be interested in all this geeky production stuff regarding District 9, from Blomkamp at a press conference I attended back then.