China Bans Avatar

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China Bans Avatar

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China has banned James Cameron's blockbuster Avatar due to concerns over the film's themes of eviction and relocation.

In case you haven't heard, James Cameron's sci-fi romance epic Avatar is very, very popular, smashing record after record on its way to challenge even mighty Titanic as the highest-grossing film of all time (though a #2 spot isn't really all that bad, either). The story may be a cliche, but the stunning visuals and imagery have helped it resonate with moviegoers across the world in a way few films do, but the movie resonated with audiences in China in a very unique way - a way that has gotten the movie banned from theaters in the world's most populous country.

Amidst concerns that Avatar's themes of forced eviction and relocation in order to support industry would spur social unrest, the state-run China Film Group ordered Avatar pulled from the nation's 1,628 2D screens, effective this Saturday, January 23rd. The film's banning would also help theaters make room for a biopic of the famous philosopher Confucius starring Chow Yun-Fat - a film more in line with the values espoused by the nation's government.

While Avatar will remain playing on China's 900 3D screens until the planned end of the run at the end of February, 3D-equipped theaters are much harder to come by in the Chinese mainland, making this an effective blanket ban, writes ICM.

The ban comes in reaction to many Chinese moviegoers, who viewed the forcible relocation of the Na'vi people on the planet Pandora as an allegory for an experience suffered by many Chinese in the country's crowded cities: The government's Chengguan evicts people from smaller homes that their families have lived in for generations in order to build commercial and industrial high-rises for the sake of the country's economic development.

Many outspoken social critics and bloggers noted the parallel between the situations faced by the blue-skinned Na'vi and inner-city Chinese living in old-fashioned neighborhoods. In the China Daily, a writer named Huang Hang wrote that "the film struck a chord with Chinese audiences and created nothing less than a social phenomenon. Why? All the forced removal of old neighbourhoods in China makes us the only earthlings today who can really feel the pain of the Na'vi."

These sentiments were echoed by popular Chinese blogger Han Han, who added that "For audiences in other countries, such brutal eviction is something outside their imagining. It could only take place on another planet or in China."

"Social phenomenon" seems an apt way to describe it, given the long lines for the film seen in Shanghai - have you seen photos of people camping out for Avatar in any other country? I sure haven't. Indeed, the success of Avatar may have earned it some enmity in the Chinese government all on its own, earning 300 million RMB ($40 million) in its first eight days of release - an embarrassing amount of money for local filmmakers.

Fortunately, China being China, it won't be so easy to stamp out the film once and for all - pirated DVDs of the film are already on streets, meaning that those who identify with the situation on Pandora can still experience it for themselves.

(Thanks, Myrrath!)

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Forget Avatar; sign me up to the Confucius biopic with Chow Yun-Fat.

I think it's interesting that the Chinese would draw that parallel. As anyone would expect, their government can't have anyone out there thinking that their rulers may be faulty.

I personally loved Avatar, and wish people would stop pretending they're their own Siskel and Ebert team and just enjoy modern movies (notice I didn't say film) for the spectacle that they are.

Saturday, JULY 23rd?

You mean January, right?

Anyways...I kinda saw this coming.

Whistler777:
I think it's interesting that the Chinese would draw that parallel. As anyone would expect, their government can't have anyone out there thinking that their rulers may be faulty.

I personally loved Avatar, and wish people would stop pretending they're their own Siskel and Ebert team and just enjoy modern movies (notice I didn't say film) for the spectacle that they are.

Agreed.

Oh well, their loss :)

Well then, i'd better go watch it again before I am no longer able to.

I'm pretty sure more people than just China have suffered from forced relocation. Really its just a bit short sighted for one blogger to claim that only the Chinese can identify with forced relocation.

Wouldn't the government not want to ban it anyway to prevent drawing even more attention and try and at least deny the parallels, even if they are there.

I never even thought that way about China before, but now they've oh-so-cleverly given themselves away to me.

Nice one China; you could've gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those meddling Na'vi, and their damn dog.

It's always about the damn money.

Relocation is not the worst of what goes on in China, I should think they're used to being told what they can and can't see by now.

Disaster Button:
I'm pretty sure more people than just China have suffered from forced relocation. Really its just a bit short sighted for one blogger to claim that only the Chinese can identify with forced relocation.

Wouldn't the government not want to ban it anyway to prevent drawing even more attention and try and at least deny the parallels, even if they are there.

exactly what i was thinking. i was like "uh..wtf? how short sighted and ignorant are you?" if i remember right, someone correct me if im wrong, wasn't it based off of the american indians being relocated?

and i agree on part two, banning it is just bringing even more attention to it, since its not a worldwide sighting now and once again china is frowned upon

I know I'm going to be 'that guy' but Gone With the Wind is in fact the highest grossing film ever if you take inflation into account which I think you should. I think that Titanic is only around #5, maybe less.

I'm surprised that there could be something seen ban worthy in Avatar from the Chinese government but now it seems really quite obvious. I'm not surprised that a western movie was banned in China though.

China and Australlia are at a ban war.

Does it surprise you China is banning something?
They've banned everything. Even water and air. Next, they'll be creating an army of the dead to work in their factories.

So a movie creating a story of a fictional people somehow represents a real situation in China? Looks like someone spent why to much time watching that movie.

Lord_Ascendant:
Does it surprise you China is banning something?
They've banned everything. Even water and air. Next, they'll be creating an army of the dead to work in their factories.

I thought they had something against the undead what with the cencorship in WOW? But yeah china seems pretty ban happy these days so I guess it shouldn't come as too much of a suprise.

I said it earlier, i'll say it again. China is a dictatorship, what did you expect? Benevolence?

In other news, China has also banned computers, thoughts, and toilet paper. Because it can.

They banned it because they don't want the chinese people to be tricked by this evil western film, into thinking that forced relocation is a bad thing.

John Funk:
Amidst concerns that Avatar's themes of forced evoction and relocation in order to support industry would spur social unrest

Little spelling blooper.

OT: The chinese government is very trigger happy only because they're so shit scared of another uprising like Tiananmen Square. But this only illustrates how they want the country unaware of the issues raised. And that makes me pretty suspicious.

Zeeky_Santos:
Well then, i'd better go watch it again before I am no longer able to.

What are you doing in China? University?

Well, I'm sure no pirated versions will show up. This ban will likely cause a boom to that industry as people wonder what this forbidden film is.

I give the chinese government 30 years before they cannot maintain order over their populace.

there's no freedom in China, a Dictature remains what it is. just look at China's 4000 years History only emperors and Tyrans...

this pic is a good example:

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John Funk:
All the forced removal of old neighbourhoods in China makes us the only earthlings today who can really feel the pain of the Na'vi.

John Funk:
For audiences in other countries, such brutal eviction is something outside their imagining. It could only take place on another planet or in China.

I sorry for you, but... isn't it a bit arrogant to believe these kind of thinks only happend in China?

I think China and Australia could merge into a single state...sure Australia would have to give up some of its freedoms, but they're both spot on the media censorship ;)

and imagine...a Pandaroo...just hopping along...

Whistler777:
I personally loved Avatar, and wish people would stop pretending they're their own Siskel and Ebert team and just enjoy modern movies for the spectacle that they are.

Here's where your logic is at fault. Not every movie is made the to be the same. Sure, it is a spectacle, but that is only due to it's visuals. The same can be said for fireworks on the 4th of July. But, if you want me to sit through 2.7 hours and be amazed by it's visuals, you better have something going on in it that isn't a complete cliche of five other movies before it and trying to subtly force a message into my face.

Just because you personally love the movie will not mean the next person out of 6 billion will love it in the same way as you do. Don't get me wrong; I liked the movie for what it is, but it won't win the Nobel Piece Prize for being pretty.

I bet they're doing this ONLY to boost that Chow Yun-Fat movie.

"eviction and relocation"
Shoudn't they be talkinga bout district 9 in that sentence as well?

All the forced removal of old neighbourhoods in China makes us the only earthlings today who can really feel the pain of the Na'vi.

The only people on Earth who feel that pain? Bullshit. Modern day imperialism consistently fucks people over in a similar manner all over the world. How about all the indigenous cultures in Africa that have been displaced in such a manner?

Actually, it happens right here in America. Just ask people who have been forced to sell their homes at below market value (sometimes extremely so), so we could build the next Interstate (and other things).

Whistler777:
I think it's interesting that the Chinese would draw that parallel. As anyone would expect, their government can't have anyone out there thinking that their rulers may be faulty.

I personally loved Avatar, and wish people would stop pretending they're their own Siskel and Ebert team and just enjoy modern movies (notice I didn't say film) for the spectacle that they are.

I am sorry, but I tried really hard to enjoy Avatar, I even looked at it as a parody of other movies in a vein bid. But it didn't work, Avatar is just a boring pretty film.

Oh, China. You little scamp.

Call me slow but I think that the topics are noe where near related.

gmaverick019:

exactly what i was thinking. i was like "uh..wtf? how short sighted and ignorant are you?" if i remember right, someone correct me if im wrong, wasn't it based off of the american indians being relocated?

Native Americans. We aren't "Indians" and calling us that is short sighted and ignorant. :P

Orcus_35:
there's no freedom in China, a Dictature remains what it is. just look at China's 4000 years History only emperors and Tyrans...

this pic is a good example:

image

I really pretty ****ing tired of people equating socialism with mass murders. For instance, with Hitler, the driving forces behind his ideals were eugenics and intolerance...socialism had very little--if anything--to do with it. Also, China is not a socialist regime...it is an authoritarian communist regime. Those you cited above are all EXTREMES, and using them to depict all of socialism. It would be like me saying that all Republicans--including moderates--are just like Rush Limbaugh. Check out the Netherlands. They have socialist institutions in place--do some research on their society and its standard of living. I think you might be a bit surprised.

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