James Cameron took a lot of heat (see previous post, here) for the way his blockbuster 3-D film “Avatar” seemed something of a rip-off of indigenous culture.
Now the Hollywood director has traveled to the Amazon on behalf of indigenous people who are fighting Brazilian government’s huge Belo Monte dam project — a cause, he says, that’s inspiring work on an “Avatar” sequel. He says he’s planning to go back this week with actress Sigourney Weaver and at least one other member of Avatar’s cast, the New York Times reports here.
The Times says of the project:
It would be the third largest in the world, and environmentalists say it would flood hundreds of square miles of the Amazon and dry up a 60-mile stretch of the Xingu River, devastating the indigenous communities that live along it. For years the project was on the shelf, but the government now plans to hold an April 20 auction to award contracts for its construction.
Stopping the dam has become a fresh personal crusade for the director, who came here as indigenous leaders from 13 tribes held a special council to discuss their last-ditch options. It was Mr. Cameron’s first visit to the Amazon, he said, even though he based the fictional planet in “Avatar” on Amazon rain forests. Still, he found the real-life similarities to the themes in his movie undeniable. …
Mr. Cameron, 55, first encountered the cause in February, after being presented with a letter from advocacy organizations and Native American groups saying they wanted Mr. Cameron to highlight “the real Pandoras in the world,” referring to the lush world under assault in his movie.
” We have to try to stop this dam,” says Cameron, who’s writing to Brazil’s president, seeking a meeting and urging him to stop the dam. “Their whole way of life, their society as they know it, depends on it.”