So, if you've been following this blog over the past couple of weeks you would realise that an earlier blog I wrote have initiated a heated discussion between 2 distinguished Syrian bloggers, Syrian Brit and Abufares! Seeking an unbiased say and because they did hijack my initial blog in their discussion, they have turned to me, one with inferior knowledge of the over all topic of the film (the final days of the Mayan civilisation) and of the finer details that make or break a film...Faced with such a burden of a task I didn't have a choice but to buy the DVD and watch it, all 139m of it, and was left with a very mixed bag of reactions.Take the historical context of the film aside, the underlying story is one shared across civilisations and times, a young man seeking to return to his home, wife and family fighting against odds to save his loved one! In that the film, while in original Mayan has delivered exquisitely, the body language, the tone of voice and some superb acting by young Jaguar Paw's wife giving birth while trying to save her first born! The anxious look of a trapped victim when someone approaches their hiding place. The combination of camera work and stunning scenery has, for me, contributed to making this film click to some extent; unfortunately, it was only to some extent!!!Films that depict a certain period in human history are always bound to cause controversy, history as we all know is told by the winners and while I couldn't help but understand Syrian Brit's view about the touch of white supremacy in the end and the showing of how barbaric the Mayans were beforehand, I can't completely agree with him. The film is trying to be true to form and whether quoting National Geographic or Wikipedia, the practices shown in the film did happen, the use of religion as a tool to control the masses by striking the fear of God/Gods in them is prescribed throughout human history and to say that it happened in a less brutal way or it should not have been shown in that light doesn't change the fact that it did. In that regard I do apologies for my two good friends here since I wont be able to give you a final saying on that side of the film...So why the hell didn't I just say that in the first 3 lines and not drag on and one like this? well simply because watching the film, I was disturbed by something other than historical accuracy and hidden agendas in the film, what caused me to pause and take a deep breath (which I did a couple times watching the film) is the amount of gore that was shown in the film, if you consider that the film was rated as suitable for 18 and older audience only for the violence content within it, you would understand what I mean! You were asked to see the gushes of blood, be so engaged in the film that you feel you can even smell it and be caught by the spray flying about with each blow. I can understand the need to be realistic but what worries me is that we live at a time when you need to be that shocking on screen in order to reach to your audience. Apocalypto, true to a long line of other films, reflects the psyche of the new generation of audience; we are faced with that gore in the papers, in our daily life and every time we switch on the TV and although disturbing in itself, what is more worrying is that we've grown accustomed to it! We don't react to such images as before, gradually, less and less things shock us and the film makers are picking up that underlying trend and responding by increasing the volume in each new production. It’s becoming a never ending cycle spiralling upwards all the time.This line of thought is not new, when I was telling my friend about watching this film and what I thought of it, he referred me to someone who has presented this argument before. Funny enough it relats to the same moviemaker, Mil Gibson's Passion of Christ! Walter Davis's article reflects on the change in the American psyche since 9/11, "the deadening of emotions" that we flee by an overdose of violence whether that violence was on screen or off! Going back to Apolcalypto, I think I should be grateful that I still cannot stomach that level of violence, that unlike my young niece and nephew, I still feel a bit uneasy at some of the scenes from CSI! And after a long thought, that gratefulness was the overwhelming idea that I ended up with!I'm really sorry SB and Abufares, I told you from the start that great sequences never happen (with the exception of Godfather 2) and this "long awaited" opinion is no difference.I enjoyed this virtual interaction over this film, and that counts as a point in its favour! I think that we should do this more often (films, books) We've already had a musical argument (abufares you remember I think ;-).And now I leave the floor to you my friends.... shoot!
(A reference should be made to a very dear friend who helped me in correcting a number of writing errors within the blog! Thanks dear, you're editorial skills are always welcomed.)