Hollywood plays the Manichaeism and wins

To analyse. Seen since the beginning of the year 2023, when an upturn in cinema is emerging, the cinematic disaster of 2022 will not have prevented large Hollywood films, distributed in fewer numbers it is true, from dominating the market and the global imaginations. However, not all of them can be reduced to the same formula. We must now distinguish between old and new school. Archetype of the first category, Top Gun. maverickby Joseph Kosinski (6.6 million viewers in France), enhances the heroic and patriotic virtues of the old-fashioned action film, piloted at the controls of his fighter by the unalterable Tom Cruise, who, being an effect special on its own, can afford the luxury of challenging the digital chimeras of the Marvel Universe.

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Two other planetary successes – the first of which, released barely a month ago, is already cutting cruppers – are like a counter-model to the previous one. This is’Avatar. The way of the waterJames Cameron (15 million admissions in France presumed at the end of his career), and Black Panther. Wakanda Forever (3.5 million), by Ryan Coogler.

These two films, produced not accidentally by the “empire” that the Disney Studio has become within Hollywood, in fact represent a kind of new Hollywood canon, brought into line with the development of an ecological conscience of the world, of a thought sensitive to the expression and visibility of minorities, even to a clearance of accounts with Western imperialism.

The saga Avatar, with its graceful and enchanting creatures, its peaceful and luxuriant nature, its imperious beauty, its symbiotic vision of life, is thus becoming the ecological fable of our time. The saga Black Panther asserts itself, under the sign of Afrofuturism, as the great redemptive narrative of black memory. A secret African kingdom, preserved from colonization and the humiliation of slavery, combining traditional authenticity and hypertechnicity, scientifically and morally more advanced than the West.

“Autocolonial work”

This is fine and good, but it needs to be questioned. Re Avatarone could not say better than Frédéric Ducarme, researcher in philosophy of ecology at the National Museum of Natural History, who writes in The world : “Everything here breathes consumer society, standardized leisure, and it seems that the further Hollywood tries to take us away (to the other end of the galaxy, to another species), the more we fall back on a caricature of I’American way of life where sobriety only has value insofar as it represents holiday coquetry. In short, the “green” James Cameron encourages us here less to rethink our relationship to consumption than to buy plane tickets for Polynesia – or rather for the Pandora park – The World of Avatar, in Florida. »

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