Sunday, October 30, 2005
In his most recent film, The Passion of the Christ, the dialogue was in Aramaic and Latin. Now Mel Gibson has announced the dialogue in his new film will be an ancient dialect called Yucatec.
Apocalypto - a Greek word meaning 'new beginning' - concerns a Maya Indian family man who 'has to overcome tremendous odds to preserve what he values the most'. The action movie - directed, produced, funded and co-written by, but not starring Gibson - will employ relatively unknown actors along with hundreds of extras speaking the Mayan tongue of Yucatec.
The Maya are people of southern Mexico and northern Central America (Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras, and El Salvador) with some 3,000 years of history. The Maya were part of the Mesoamerican Pre-Columbian cultures. Contrary to popular myth, the Maya people never "disappeared." There are an estimated 6 million Maya people living in this area at the start of the 21st century. Some are quite integrated into the modern culture of the nations in which they reside, others continue a more traditional culturally distinct life, often speaking a Maya language.
Anthropologists used to contrast the "peaceful" Mayans with the bloodthirsty Aztecs of central Mexico. Although human sacrifice was not as important to the Mayans as to the Aztec, blood sacrifice played a major role in their religion. Individuals offered up their blood, but not necessarily their lives, to the gods through painful methods using sharp instruments such as sting-ray spines or performed ritualistic self mutilation. It is probable that people of all classes shed their blood during religious rites. The king's blood sacrifice was the most valuable and took place more frequently. The Mayans were warlike and raided their neighbors for land, citizens, and captives. Some captives were subjected to the double sacrifice where the victims heart was torn out for the sun and head cut off to pour blood out for the earth.
If the violence it is handled tastefully, as it was in The Passion of the Christ, I am sure this will be another blockbuster. After all, Mel is the "Master of the Action Flick".