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Elysium: A film that 99 percent will enjoy

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By Lorenzo Venneri and Naftali Burakovsky

In the year 2154, the world is polluted, diseased and overpopulated to the point that the super-rich decide to build themselves a private colony in space called Elysium, while the rest of humanity (the 99 percent) are left on the desolate and neglected planet earth.
Elysium, directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9) follows the story of Max (Matt Damon), a citizen of earth, who tries desperately to get to Elysium after a workplace accident puts his life in jeopardy. While Elysium was partially derailed by its dense political messages, it was a visually stunning film, which explored important social issues in an undeniably thrilling way.
We are suckers for a sci-fi film that uses its narrative to explore social issues of the present day. And explore social issues is really all that Elysium does with its story. Elysium itself is a manifestation of Christian Parenti’s concept of the armed lifeboat, the metaphor for the militarization of borders for the exclusion and repression of refugees. Similar to Elysium, the 2006 film Children of Men offers a chilling depiction of what this kind of society might look like.


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