Avatar director James Cameron: His film has been nominated

for nine Academy Awards, including best picture and director.



Vedomosti, Russia

Avatar's Appeal: We Know We've Been Bad, But Want to Be Good


"People go to see Avatar for a third time, not for the shimmering cat world they love, but for the mind's suddenly-awakened capacity to make moral choices. They are lining up - not to stare at the special effects - but because deep down in their souls, they want to recognize the evil of their cruel world, including within themselves."


By Valery Panyushkin


Translated By Alexander Sviridovsky


January 30, 2010


Russia - Vedomosti - Original Article (Russian)

A testament to the moral questions raised by Avatar are the causes that are using the movie to promote their missions: Above, a Palestinian demonstrates against a wall being build between Israelis and Palestinians.



BBC NEWS VIDEO: Final countdown to the Academy Awards, 00:02:02, Mar. 7 RealVideo

More and more people are standing in queues. Cinemas are full. People who have seen Avatar once go and see it again. And having seen it without 3D-glasses, people go and see it with the glasses.


And well, yes, of course, there are the amazing computer graphics and the unprecedented accuracy with which the characters, flowers and animals are rendered. Well, yes, of course. it's a technological breakthrough ...


But for some reason, no one discusses the subtleties of this technological breakthrough. The perfection of the new technologies in Avatar are simply stated, but no one dwells on them - and neither do newspapers, blogs, nor your neighbors, if you listen to the conversations in the cinema.


They talk about the fact that the renderings of people in the film are too superficial and un-nuanced (translation: "Are humans really such scum?"). They say they don't want to leave the wonderful world of man-cats (translation "After all, we could be friendlier!"). They talk about whether betrayal is permissible (translation: "I'd like to betray!"). In short, in connection with the movie Avatar, people talk about moral issues.


At the same time, Avatar is a fairy tale for children. My nine-year daughter left the theater with her eyes shining with delight. Very beautiful and exciting. Flowers bloom, lizards fly ...


It is also very cut and dried. It's very clear where the good and the evil lay. And there's one moral question: Is it possible to take the side of good, even if you were originally part of the evil? And people like that.



The fact, I suppose, is that people tend to make moral choices. That's the general purpose of man. Man is born to choose between good and evil. Except that man doesn't like to think - he's too lazy to understand the intricacies of a world created by someone far more artful than even James Cameron. But the need to make moral choices exists, and the undercurrent of feeling that one is born to distinguish good from evil isn't going away. So people go to see Avatar for a third time, not for the shimmering cat world they love, but for the mind's suddenly awakened capacity to make moral choices.


As the cat-girl rightly observes at the beginning of the film, as children things need to be greatly simplified so that life is filled with meaning. And so we go to the movies. There, bad men drive a huge metal bulldozer to destroy a living and glowing tree, within which lives an entire magical race. And the bad men feel sympathy for no one. They go just because they need to go - and spit on anything that lives to get what they want. This is evil, right? So the audience chooses right, and happiness spreads within their souls - happiness stemming from the fact that for once they've done what they were born to do.



Le Monde, France: Avatar: Nothing But a 'Stupid Justification for War!'

Die Zeit, Germany: Avatar: A Shameful Example of Western Cultural Imperialism

Cyberpress, Canada: The Film Avatar is the 'Apocalypse Now of the Virtual Age'

Vedomosti, Russia: Krylatskiy Townspeople Treated Like Avatar Natives

Komsomolskaya Pravda: Communists Say Cameron 'Robbed' Soviet SciFi

BolPress, Bolivia: Jesus Christ and the Movie Avatar

China Daily, China: Twisting Avatar to Fit China's Paradigm

De Standaard, Belgium: What Does Avatar Mean to You?

Russia Today, Russia: Communists Demand 'Ban' on Movie Avatar

Jornal De Angola, Angola: Avatar Holds Out Hope for Something Better


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Religion, philosophy and art are there to help the individual make moral choices - but that's too complicated. Advertising, marketing and propaganda all work against making the moral choice - and they are too powerful.



Nevertheless, the need to choose between good and evil remains in our blood. Man wants to make the moral choice. Moreover, he wants to realize his own sinfulness, because there's no other way to salvation. He wants to say to himself, people are scoundrels and I'm one of them - I am as much a villain as they are.


Then it becomes easier. The world becomes brighter, as if the plastic wrapper of consumer indifference has been ripped off. And that's why people are lining up at theaters. Not to stare at the special effects, but because deep down in their souls, people want to recognize the evil of their cruel world, including within themselves. And they want to see the betrayal of this world as a good thing.


And then, what do you know, they're able to do so.



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