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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Avatar- script: nothing new to China - people

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The Canadian script writer, conceptualizer and director of the Hollywood epic blockbuster Avatar James Cameron might not had been aware of the large scale land grabbing and resource hunting activities of humans prevalent on earth especially in China; otherwise he had not produced his film along the similar storyline. The incidents of sending guards to use every possible threat to move the residents of a particular area and torning down their homes to rubble –the next day, leaving the residents in horror are regular scenes in China and the story of the film is not new to its people – report media and bloggers on the –net.

A scene from epic blockbuster avatar

Survival of the fittest is the law of nature often not applicable in human democratic systems on earth. Even the non democratic settings, values flowing in human blood don’t allow such incidents to happen in many parts of the human world and it is popularly seen in the animal world only. Had Mr. Cameron ever been to China ( it seems that he has never been) he might had been able to see the entire plot of his film much earlier, and thinking it very common he might not had made the film including the same. Rather, he could not even think of making a film on such a storyline. He probably was of the opinion that common human beings could not do hateful acts of exploitation, torture and attack like those he combined in his film. While writing the script, he might have been thinking that acts of attacking natives and depriving them of their homes and resources by imperialistic forces might stimulate hearts of movie goers across the world. But, he was wrong. He was, probably, of the opinion that “brute force eviction was unimaginable and it could happen only on alien planets”. He did not know that the same happens every now and then on earth, and in China in particular.

According to media reports, many movie goers in China liked the film just because of the fact that its story line was parallel to the land conflicts in their home country. The Hindu, in its January 13,2010 issue writes - The only difference between Mr. Cameron’s film and land conflicts in China, cinema-goers said, was the plot’s denouement.“The humans actually failed to successfully evict and demolish [the aliens]?” one blogger wrote -“Truly embarrassing. Why didn’t they send China’s chengguan [security guards] there?” Just read the text from the paper -the bull-dozers await at the gates. An evil corporation sends its guards, using every possible threat to move the residents from their land. But all resistance is futile. The people watch in horror, as their homes get torn down to rubble and they are forced to relocate.

This is a not-so-unfamiliar storyline in China where forced land acquisitions by influential real estate companies are rarely away from the headlines. Here, home demolitions are arguably the most controversial of social issues, and widely regarded as the biggest cause of social unrest. This also happens to be the plotline of James Cameron’s epic blockbuster film ‘Avatar,’ which opened in China last week and has seemingly taken the country by storm. A week on after its January 4 release, the show is set to break all records at the Chinese box-office. Screenings in almost every cinema hall in every corner of the country are sold out. The film has already crossed the 100 million yuan ($14.7 million) mark in earnings. It is set to become the most successful ever foreign film in China, and the first to make $500 million yuan ($73.5 million).

The film’s ground-breaking 3D special effects and the publicity hype surrounding its release are no doubt the main drivers behind its wide appeal. But many film critics and bloggers have also been struck by the close resonance the film’s plotline has had for many cinema-goers here.“China’s demolition crews must go sue Old [James] Cameron, sue him for piracy/copyright infringement!,” one blogger wrote at the website Tianya.com.At least a dozen movie-goers The Hindu interviewed after one screening in Beijing’s Sanlitun district said they were moved by the story, particularly its close parallels to the land conflicts that are common in many of China’s cities. The resonance was so deep that some film critics here dismissed the plot-line as “too common.” “Some Chinese movie critics think that while the movie is not bad, parts of the plot were too mundane,” the popular and controversial writer Han Han said. “I completely disagree, because brute-force eviction is unimaginable for audiences in other countries because they think that it can only happen on alien planets. or in China.”The film’s release here also happens to coincide with a number of high-profile demolition cases, which have recently stirred debate about land rights. In November, a woman in Chengdu, Sichuan province, died setting herself ablaze atop her home as demolition crews stood at her doorstep. Beijing has recently suggested it will consider overhauling demolition procedures and acquisition laws, in light of increasing public resentment at the influence real estate companies wield in many of China’s provinces.

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