Friday, January 08, 2010

Avatar in China

Why do we destroy everything that is good and connected? Why can we not recognize the beauty and value in existence, co-existence, tranquility and balance?

"A Chinese take on Avatar" makes note of a Chinese blogger's comparison of the movie to the situation of "nail houses" in China (i.e. last-house-standing after real estate developers force/entice/evict whole blocks from their homes).

When I stepped out of the movie theatre, I also thought about the hutong neighborhoods ... Definitely can draw parallels -- that sense of helplessness in the face of an onslaught by more powerful entities, a losing battle to preserve what is good and meaningful.

Some aspects of the movie in which one could see an analogy:

- Remaining in touch with the voices and memories of our ancestors.

- The sense of connectedness -- what one long-time hutong resident called being "grounded" in the book "The Last Days of Old Beijing".

- (Modern) human ignorance of things of value and a fixation on profit to the detriment of all else. "It's a f*cking tree! They need to leave so I can tear it down to mine the area." is just the same as, "It's a g*damn shack. Why can't these people move out so I can develop this ground and make money?" This view ignores the fact that these residences have centuries of history and that a living human community has grown up there and taken on meaning of its own.

Perhaps we can see Avatar as a missive to protect things of value, such as ecology and plantary connectedness -- or in the Chinese context, traditional architecture and living communities.

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