Technofreak. On the Films of James Cameron

Craft endows a film director with class, obsession with credibility. For nearly 30 years, Canadian James Cameron has told about his feeling for the technical: his love for the fruits of late 20th century technological progress, his fear of the dynamic technologization of life. He has penetrated into the nooks and crannies of a blue planet, escaping into the stars. He has visited space and explored the depths of the ocean, been on the deck of the Titanic and the planet LV-426, colonized by the Earth; he has traveled into the mists of the past and the inscrutable future. The credo of his work could be the words of Stanisław Lem: “Most technologies have their shiny facade, but life gave them a flipside—a dark reality.”

In the grim decade of the 1980s, toward the end of the Cold War, there was no shortage of symbols of techno-terror. Cameron used first the Skynet computer system to awaken fear in audiences (Terminator, 1984) followed by the greedy Weyland Yutani corporation (Aliens, 1986). When the wind of historical change came, and the United States left their collision course with the Soviet Union, it suddenly turned out that man was in charge of his own fate (“There’s no fate but what we make,” the hero of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 1991, declares),able to decide for himself and define his own humanity (The Abyss, Director’s Cut, 1992). Discussing the decline of technophobic tendencies in American society, Cameron asked his favorite questions: how do we define ourselves in the face of civilizational progress? How do we harness its products? And how restrain them from harnessing us?