Photo. A Mayan pyramid. Photo Copyright Travel Explorations.
Its the end of the world as we know it? Is this the correct story of the Mexican Mayan empire final days?
One thing is for sure: the running in the jungle is the wildest I have ever seen. The movie is so dramatic that it will almost stop viewers from breathing and hearts to beat.
Apocalypto is an Academy Award-nominated 2006 film directed by Mel Gibson. It was set in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. It`s about the Mayans life and culture before Spanish contact. It depicts one man's experience during the decline of the ancient Maya civilization. The peninsula lies east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a northwestern geographic partition separating the region of Central America from the rest of North America.
Mel Gibson is famous for the movies Mad Max, Braveheart and Passion of Christ. Especially Braveheart is a masterpiece of a movie. The movie Apocalypto was released in the United States on 8 December 2006. I was sceptial to this movie with Mel Gibson as an director. Both as an actor and film director I didn`t have high expections about the movie, but I become so positive surprised. This movie was so incredible that I consider it as an new era of movie making.
It`s so amazing that it`s possible to spend a year in the jungles of Mexico getting so much out of it. Making a film about the fall of the Mayan Empire was both a good idea and marvellous showed. It has been criticized by a number of anthropologists and archaeologists working in the field of Mayanist studies for its depiction of late Maya society as extremely violent, as well as for evident anachronisms and other historical inaccuracies.
Mel Gibson likes giving audiences the sight of blood spurting from open wounds and letting us hear the sound of an arrow passing through someone's ribcage. These are the Mayans who ripped the hearts out of their enemy's chests and bounced decapitated heads down the stairways of their temples.
Gibson has very selectively chosen to show us their savagery while ignoring any other sides of their culture. The Maya civilization is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as its spectacular art, monumental architecture, and sophisticated mathematical and astronomical systems.
Today, the Maya and their descendants form sizeable populations throughout the Maya area and maintain a distinctive set of traditions and beliefs that are the result of the merger of pre-Columbian and post-Conquest ideologies (and structured by the almost total adoption of Roman Catholicism). Many different Mayan languages continue to be spoken as primary languages today; the Rabinal Achí, a play written in the Q'eqchi' language, was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.
Mel Gibson is currently considering directing a film taking place in Panama shortly after the era of Apocalypto about the first Europeans to see the Pacific Ocean. Will it be another revelation about the end of the world?
Stein Morten Lund, 23 April 2006