Monday, March 8, 2010

And the Oscar goes to: Sympathy for the Aggressor; Don't Count the million+ dead Iraqis (but who's counting right?)

That is the first message behind the awarding of an Oscar to Hurt Locker for Best Picture. The second message: Women directors can win an award too if they just hitch their wagon to the same tired cliche: America the Victim.

Mamoon Alabbasi, an Iraqi journalist, has this interesting piece in which he compares this award-winning trash to Avatar. I quote him:

"In the 'The Hurt Locker,' where we follow an adventurous U.S. bomb squad in Iraq, the Iraqis in the movie appear to serve just as a background that shows how heroic the film's stars are.

Almost faceless and voiceless, they are - like in the world of politics - robbed of their humanity.

It would be more accurate to say that 'The Hurt Locker' is an action movie that uses Iraq as a background than to brand it as an 'Iraq war movie,', and less so as the 'Iraq war drama.'

The film does not really address the Iraq war, the reasons for the presence of the U.S. squad or even the bombs they are supposed to defuse, and most importantly it ignores the views and feelings of Iraqis.

Contrary to the claim made by some film critics arguing that the film is non-ideological, the very fact that the war context is left out makes the movie very political.

It sells war as a heroic adventure, hiding the true toll on all sides involved and brushes aside the suggestion of accountability. This seems very ideological."

He then goes on to say:

"But for a lot of Iraqis, 'Avatar' is the film of the underdog. For many of them who feel de-humanised by some parts of the media, the positive depiction of blue non-humans is welcome.

If some humans can relate to the 'humanity' of non-humans in fiction, then surely they would find it easier to identify with the true humanity of de-humanised humans in real life?

Or would that be too much to expect?"

You can read the full article here:
http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/022610a.html

Though I have problems with Avatar too -- it is, after all, as always, the white guy who saves the "natives" -- at least the "natives" are seen and heard in all their blue glory. That is hugely generous for Hollywood. Hurt Locker, on the other hand, has done same same even worse, choosing to invisibilize Iraqis and turn them into extras. Yeah, like real life.