Friday, December 29, 2006


Sometimes I think knowing a subject matter of a move is both a help and a hinderance. Last night I went to see Apocolypto last night with a girlfriend of mine (*waves* Hi Lori). I have to say- the cinemetography was AMAZING. The colors were amazingly vivid, especially the greenery in the beginning and the end of the movie. Unlike Passion- Mels last film- the gore in Ap was not half as bad. I think it was because I felt it was better done, and not so in-your-face-over-the-top. It kept realistic to the brutality of the time and practices shown, but also avoided dwelling on the gruesome other than to advance the story. The actors were also great. In fact, they were so good a part of me doesn't want to believe they are actors, because I want to believe I glimpsed a glance into their life. In spite of the subtitles, you really felt the nuances of the people and came to care about them and their fate. One of the most poignant pieces of the film I felt was the look on the face of the mother-in-law, who had harranged her daughters husband, and has just realised what she had to loose, and how he, with no words, shared his pain to loose her, in spite of what she had been to him. I also loved the fact that there was so much imagrey and ideas that were true to Mayan life in this period (at least to the depth that I have studied it). The mask of Quetzequotl (Feather Serpent, which actually has a different name in this region though for the life of me I cannot think of it right now), the temples, the limestone quarries.
However, there were some LARGE glaring mistakes that REALLY bothered me about this film. Now your average movie goer is not even going to notice, but I did, and it jared the realism a bit for me. First- the blue paint. Blue was a hard color to make in the ancient world. It was considered sacrad and royal. They would NOT have used copious amounts to paint sacraficial victims. A spot on the forehead or chest maybe but not the entire body. Second- The copious amounts of Jade. They portray elites in copious amounts of green and jade. I have to check my notes, but I am failry sure that Jade was not considered a high-value item.
The worst faux pas as far as I am concerned though is the sacrafice. It is true, the Mayan practices blood-letting rituals. But it was mainly self blood letting. A pierced tounge or thigh. In early classical times Mayans did practice large scale sacrifices of war captures- however, it was by beheding NOT by cutting out that heart. That is a VERY Aztec thing- NOT Mayan. Also, this period is set just before the Spanish arrive, the mayans were not practicing large scale sacrafices at the time.


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