This paper posits to present a description and analysis of two films that relate to religion and ecology. The first film will be Avatar while the second film will be The Garden: A Miracle in South Central L.A.
The film Avatar by James Cameron metaphorically takes on the themes of suppression and imperialism of indigenous peoples. The film implicitly criticizes industrial capitalism’s rapacious appetite for natural resources, despite the fact that it as well participates in it. The film Avatar generates immense controversy. Avatar epitomizes forms of religion that intimately associate animistic spiritualities that of belong to nature with opposition to bio-cultural simplification. Bio-cultural simplification in this case means the erosion of cultural and biological diversity as agriculture spreads, slaughtering, converting, and dislodging small-scale foraging as well as, pastoral societies.
Avatar persuades the audience to perceive that everything is inter-related. The theme depicts that all human beings are related to each other, and the human race is as well related to the Earth. In an interview shortly prior to the Academy Awards, James Cameron asserted that in the film’s climax, the audience is persuaded to support nature in its fight against the disparaging forces of human civilization. The film brings about a feeling of connection and belonging to nature. It also brings about the notion that nature has inherent value and must not be exterminated by the human race. These are fundamental characteristics of the dark green religion.
Avatar is probably the most viewed motion picture. Following its release on December 18th, 2009, the film was speedily ranked as the highest grossing movie ever released. It was regarded as a global cinematic phenomenon. Avatar is set in a place referred to as Pandora, a strikingly beautiful and abundantly vegetated moon that circle a gaseous planet located in a stellar system known as the Alpha Centauri. There, in 2154, human aggressors had founded a mining colony, the objective is to gain access to a source of energy related to uranium that is referred to in the film as unobtainium. The film establishes that man had been executing a military crusade to vanquish Pandora’s indigenous inhabitants, known as the Na’vi. The Na’vi resisted man’s exploitive plans and mounted a vicious resistance. The Na’vi are later joined by a diverse alliance of Pandoran animals, also a small number of well-placed defectors of the human race. This alliance joins in fighting the imperialist human aggressors. The imperialist humans were eventually defeated and thrown out of Pandora.
A number of the humans, who had joined the alliance, choose to remain in Pandora and become a component of the Na’vi planets. Of particular interest from the perspective of ecology and religion background, is the bio-neurological system of the planet. This is depicted by an organicist being who is personified by the indigenous inhabitants as the deity Eywa, who plays an influential role in the battle. This includes responding to a prayer-like petition from one of the human defectors. Eywa answered the petition by inspiring Pandora’s animals for war; during the film’s final climactic conflict, when all seems lost the most formidable of all Pandora’s animals arrive and routes the invaders.
The Na’ vi are portrayed as indigenous people have usually been depicted. Indigenous people are usually depicted in fashionable culture as living in ecological and spiritual harmony with the natural world. The indigenous Na’ vi lives in a communicative embrace with the goddess Eywa. On the contrary, the human invaders were disjointed from the natural world on planet Earth. The humans had made the Earth almost uninhabitable. They were also disjointed from the wonder-world of the Na’vi. Thus, the film’s conflict was over whether a hallowed world, and its most sacrosanct of places, maybe defiled and damaged by the militaristic, mechanistic, and materialistic human invaders.
Jake Sully is a soldier with a unique role in suppressing the Na’vi. Even though he is a paraplegic as a result of a previous military injury, he is brought in to substitute his dead brother in a program involved in genetic engineering that created the avatars (human-Na’ vi hybrids). The avatars provide the human beings with Na’vi bodies, thus facilitating them to breathe Pandoran air, which is otherwise lethal to humans. Through the avatar bodies, the hybrids may interact and communicate with the Na’vis. Sully’s designated responsibility is to study enough concerning the Na’vi to persuade them, to depart from the areas targeted for industrial extraction.
Dr. Grace Augustine is another human character who works via an avatar body. She had studied Na’vi ecosystems and culture prior to the procedure shown in the film. As an ethnobiologist and anthropologist, she is passionately inquisitive concerning Pandoran natural structures. Like several contemporary anthropologists she in the film, she expresses solidarity with the Na’vi people. Augustine is of the opinion that by studying from the indigenous people, she may persuade the humans who came to exploit the mineral resources that, the factual riches of the place are placed in its living things and the natural systems that constitute it. By means of their avatar bodies, Augustine and Sully come to embrace and understand the Na’ vi’s holistic ecological spirituality.
Avatar consequently raises decisive questions for anyone interested in the conflict involving the health of ecosystems and industrial-extractive capitalism. Avatar’s portrayal of Na’vi religion goes deeply into the environment described variously by terms such as ‘dark green religion’, eco-spirituality, animism, pantheism, paganism, and panentheism.
The Garden: A Miracle in South Central L.A. The title of this film invokes a biblical visualization of tranquil harmony. The initial images of The Garden would possibly be prosaic, but nonetheless, they support the idea of tranquil harmony. In the film, a man, battered by age and physical labor, arises before sunrise and heads to the South Central Garden. The garden consists of fourteen acres of farmland in the heart of an otherwise wrecked part of downtown Los Angeles. The man works the plot of land patiently and quietly. It is shortly evident that his labors as well as those of his co-farmers sustain just the body as well as soothe their spirits. The scenery of the farm viewed from the sky is attractive, shocking, surrounded by buildings as well as city streets. The closer shots, of countless vegetables and fruit trees, are delightful.
As the back story subsequently unfolds, and it is revealed that this territory of green was an offshoot of the repercussions of the horrendous Rodney King’s verdict and following Los Angeles. In 1992, a lady known as Doris Bloch established the park as a way to introduce something constructive to the community. The parcel of land had initially come into the authority’s possession on account of an eminent domain, bought in 1986 from Ralph Horowitz. It was intended to be the location of an incinerator. However, Juanita Tate who was a community activist effectively battled City Hall to avert such a contamination source in the midst of a pitiable neighborhood.
Director of the film, Scott Kennedy, portray the farmers as they work on their plots, proudly chatting about their crops. Almost as though by happenstance, the camera stumbles on the commencement of a battle. City Hall has decided to trade the land back to Mr. Ralph Horowitz, in a confidential negotiation that is debatably illegal. Consequently, in 2004, the biggest urban neighborhood garden in the nation is to be turned into warehouses, after 12 years. Horowitz’s effort to eject the farmers’ sets in motion the chronicle of a faction of Latino laborers who are learning how to stand up for themselves in a law court as well as in the public eye.
The camera picks up the information ingeniously and trusts on the audience to tag along. What follows is a mesmeric story that evokes another biblical anecdote, namely David and Goliath. This takes place as the farmers collaborate to resist the invasion.
In the film, it comes out clearly that as human beings; there are ethics as well as a jurisprudence that starts with the human. This determines human conduct in his relations, other people. The film brings in the perspective that, the natural world that surrounding us is merely the milieu in which the affairs of human beings take place. In the presence of man, the natural world is devoid of its rights. The film evokes the notion that the human race has a moral sense of homicide, suicide as well as genocide. On the contrary, the human race has no moral sense of biocide or the mutilation of the eco-systems.
Analyzing films is significant since the understanding of a feature film is basically based on the viewer’s perspective. Unfortunately, a film is based on the director and producers and probably may not share similar opinions as the audience. An audience may view a film differently if it simply watches the movie superficially. Therefore, critical interpretation of a film is fundamental in understanding the film completely.
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