Heading south: theory, Viva Riva! and District 9 by Pier Paolo Frassinelli

This article begins by reflecting on how the geopolitical configuration outlined in Edward Said’s Culture and imperialism (1993) has been radically altered both by the decline of the US empire and, in conjunction with it, by what Jean and John Comaroff describe, in the subtitle of Theory from the south (2012), as Euro-America’s evolution toward Africa. From there, the article turns to Viva Riva! (2010) and District 9 (2009), two films that appropriate the conventions of Hollywood blockbusters to produce cinematic narratives set in contemporary
African urban landscapes which lend themselves to be viewed through the lens of recent theoretical debates on the becoming global of the south. These films’ gazes produce an image of African cities that is legible as a dystopic vision of the global future.

Heading south


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