(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 5: Avatar: Cinema’s Watery Grave

In episode 5 of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Isi and Ajay dive deep into the spectacle of James Cameron’s latest blockbuster Avatar: The Way of Water, touching on questions of cinematic language, the ironic celebration of nature through its destructions, papyrus fonts, visual and narrative incoherence, Final Fantasy (and being unfair to it), Ridley Scott, Moby Dick, Heidegger’s question concerning technology, Prehistoric Planet, windmills, colonialism, György Lukács, Eiji Otsuka, Sontag’s “Fascinating Fascism,” dubs vs. subs, 64-bit water, underwater motion capture, the shock doctrine, the movie’s mildly eugenic obsession with sexualized (yet sexless) bodily perfection, James Cameron’s legacy in crafting so much of the style of contemporary “cinematic universe” form, even the bizarre Manhattan mall where Isi and Ajay watched the movie. And, of course, lots and lots of water. 

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(Pop) Cultural Marxism is a monthly series of the Podcast for Social Research, produced by William R. Clark. If you like what you’ve heard, consider subscribing to Brooklyn Institute’s Patreon page, where you can enjoy access to all past and future episodes of the podcast.

(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 5: Avatar: Cinema's Watery Grave

Notations

Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments, trans. Edmund Jephcott (Redwood City: Stanford University Press, 2002).
Ernst Junger’s On the Marble Cliffs
Susan Sontag, “Fascinating Fascism,” The New York Review of Books, February 6, 1975.
John McTiernan’s The Hunt for Red October
Timur Bekmambetov’sNight Watch
Sophie Lewis “My Octopus Girlfriend” n+1, Winter 2021
Empire Online’s Q&A with James Cameron
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