February 04, 2010

Amazon Indians watch Avatar

'Avatar' in the AmazonIf there were ever a place that came close to the magical world of Pandora in James Cameron’s new film "Avatar," it would be the Amazon. There may not be butterflies that look like flying squid, but in the Amazon can you eat giant worms and lemon-flavored ants for dinner in a forest that is home to both the jaguar and the pink dolphin. Reporter Melaina Spitzer joined a group of indigenous leaders from the Amazon in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, to see "Avatar" on the big screen in 3D.A positive response:When it’s over, I speak with Mayra Vega. She’s 24 years old and head of the Women’s Association of the Shuar Nation. She says "Avatar" hit home for her people.

“It left a huge impression on us. For example, the movies are almost real. It’s an example that makes us think a lot because the indigenous are defending their rights. We have to defend, just as the indigenous so clearly defended in the movie. We had an uprising; we had a confrontation with gases. It’s the same as what we just saw in the movie.”
A more nuanced response:Others say there was at least one thing in the movie that veered from their reality. Achuar leader Luis Vargas says it’s where the white guy sweeps in to the rescue. But he says that’s to be expected.

“This is a Hollywood movie, so it’s practically a given that a mestizo comes to the defense and leads [the people] to triumph in the end.”
Comment:  Even people who have never seen a movie before picked up on Avatar's obvious flaw. A white guy leading the Na'vi to victory is just plain wrong.

For more on the subject, see Minorities = Children in Avatar and White Guilt in Avatar.

No comments: