Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Real life Avatars?

Apart from being a 3d film of astonishing effects, Avatar tells the story of the Na'vi people fighting back successfully against the mercenaries of the global corporations which want to exploit the natural resources of their home planet "Pandora". For some reason the American military thought it was having a dig at them :)

Director James Cameron is not content to leave the film to change public perceptions. On the american indy internet news programme "Democracy Now!" he said he had begun a campaign alongside indigenous peoples to bring to light real life "Pandoras" on this planet.

"The success of Avatar triggered an interesting chain reaction, which is a lot of groups that are involved with indigenous issues and the environment and energy and so on have come to me saying, you know, “How can we use the success of the film to continue to raise awareness, not just a generalized kind of emotional reaction, but a very specific awareness on different battles that are in progress right now around the world?” And I thought, well, OK, fine, this is an opportunity to maybe do some good, beyond just the film itself. I mean, I thought, you know, as a filmmaker, as an artist, I put my story out there, you know, and people react to it, and they draw their own conclusions, and that’s it for me. I’m over and out, you know? "

"But I don’t think that’s enough in this situation, because Avatar doesn’t teach you anything specific. It only gives you an emotional reaction, a sense of moral outrage, if you will, about the destruction of nature, about the, you know, destruction of indigenous people, culture and so on. So I think people need action items. You know, they need specific things. They need specific information about what’s going on, and they need specific action items about what to do about it. So you’ve got to talk about it. There’s got to be a dialogue. So I think there’s a whole dialogue going on now in the wake of this film that’s beneficial."

For the people of the Amazon there is nothing fictional about the Belo Monte dam project. 25,000 people will be displaced if this project goes ahead and they literally have nowhere to go. The film has aroused an emotional response (and sent Rupert Murdoch's avatars at Fox News into apoplexy which is no bad thing!). The high profile support of James Cameron for the real life victims of capitalism is important but at the end of the day the corporations will only be brought to book by the working class movement.

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