29 de Agosto, 2006
Mel Rolls His Drunken Orb Toward Mexico
A GREAT CIVILIZATION IS NOT CONQUERED FROM WITHOUT....UNTIL IT HAS BEEN DESTROYED FROM WITHIN the trailer for Mel Gibson's latest retelling of history in the form of American Cinema, Apocalypto, informs us. Now, I know Apocalypto sounds like a new genre of club music, but Mel "I Get Drunk and Expose What I Fight so Hard to Hide All Day" Gibson is, in fact, shooting a film about the Mayan Civilization. If the quote used in the previews is any indicator, the film will avoid the less-interesting story of how the great civilization of one of Mexico's most brilliant and legendary indigenous peoples were invaded, decimated, and tortured by the Spaniards; of how the invaders from Spain forbade the Maya their beliefs and idols as well as burned nearly all of their written records, thus depriving the world (forever) of so much valuable history.
Instead, we shall buy our popcorn and Junior Mints and be entertained and enlightened as to how, exactly, the Indians destroyed themselves. I mean, obviously, that's just more gripping of a tale. We'll save the ole conquest/invasion part for another day. Mel is, and after all, he's the one showing the passion to even make this film.
NO ONE CAN OUTRUN THEIR DESTINY, the poster for the film warns us. Which is a bit confusing. Is Mel trying to tell us that his eye is on us? I mean, it is a bit intimidating, no? Or is this merely a message that the Mayan people are destined to be destroyed? I mean, I hope someone told him that the Mayan civilization is not dead and buried, but lives on! Can we really say what their "DESTINY" is? Did the ref call the game already?
And while it is true that all good fur-avoidant and vegan society members should also Be Aware of the Plight of the Maya (all the better to exploit them in the name of profitable and tasty snacks), surely we can do more than romanticize the fall of their ancestors, if we really care about their current poverty and exploitation.
But perhaps care is not Mister Gibson's agenda.... Could it be possible that "Whiskey Mel" is using this story to get at something else? Could he be using the "destroyed" peoples of this great civilization for his own glory...to further his own ends? Hunh. That would be an interesting parallel to how the Spaniards treated the Maya! Neat!
Oh, stop, stop, Don't fuss! Of course this caring docudrama on the Maya is nothing like the Spanish slaughter of the Ancient race! These are such separate and dissimilar events that the mind staggers to list all the reasons how poor a metaphor that is. I owe you an apology (see me later). I mean, just off the top of my head I can assert a number of differences. For one, in this modern day and age, we have box office receipts! And the decimation of the Maya by the hands of the Spaniards' was not entertainment, but religious conversion! I seriously doubt that Mel Gibson is doing any of that, here.
Of course I'm not saying that Mel is actually (or metaphorically) reenacting the White Conquest of Mexico's indigenous by retelling their story for his own purposes; towering above all the brown people as the big, palefaced bossman on the set who gets to tell everyone where to go and what to do and how to act! I know that is not his bent. He has other things on his mind. Other visions in his heart. And for such a man of such important agendas, we allow some room! Because we can trust his judgment. He's a man of sane decisions and behavior, and I'm sure he'll show respect in his portrayal of the Ancient Maya.
The Passion experience--especially the part in which critics hurled anti-Semitism charges at Gibson, an ultraconservative Roman Catholic whose father has questioned whether the Holocaust happened--thickened Gibson's hide along with his wallet. So if there are complaints about Apocalypto's portrayal of human sacrifice by the Maya, whose mostly impoverished descendants today are a cause célèbre for liberals, Gibson says he won't care. 'After what I experienced with The Passion, I frankly don't give a flying ---- about much of what those critics think.'"
Now, I've seen the trailer. And I agree: it's about time someone represented some of Mexico's history! It's exciting to see the lightning flash over those massive pyramids; the dense and jagged montañas; the feathers, the stone. It makes me proud to see those brown faces, those hard eyes, those lithe bodies, those stone temples, and the beautiful art that we know to be the handiwork of the Maya. They were an amazing people at the summit of their power and knowledge. You know, before they had to go and destroy themselves. But even so, their story needs to be told. And loudly. With Mel's budget and directorial panache, I have no doubt that the tale will be extremely exciting, and satisfactory to watch. Can you imagine? To see the Maya come alive on a big screen, in all their splendor and beauty. It will make all those of us who hail from Mexico and her tribal makeup proud. To now have a film that speaks to our own heritage, made by the people of Mexico for the people of Mexico.
Well, okay, the director is a White American; the soundtrack is being scored in London; the title is Greek (for "a new beginning", which the Maya were happy to be given, I'm sure); the movie is not being filmed in the Maya's homeland, and modern-day Mayan Yucatec is not the language of the Ancient Mayans, the lead actor is not a Mayan Indian, but Comanche and Cree Indian, and he doesn't live in Mexico, but in Texas. (Mexico, Texas. Same thing!)
But at least Mel makes the Indians look good and creepy, like savages ought to.
Beautiful. I mean you know what I really love about these shots? This is exactly how the Ancient Maya used to acknowledge the camera! With the L.D.A., as us cinematographer-technical types say. The Leering Direct Address.
BOOO! Mwahahahaha! WE'LL YANK YOUR HEARTS OUT OF YOUR CHEST AND EAT THEM WITH TWIZZLERS, RAPT AUDIENCE!!!
But don't let all my praise and eagerness obscure your own curiosity. I bet you're wondering what, exactly, made our favorite Passion®ate, liquored-up gringo movieman turn his discerning eye to the ancient, indigenous tribes of Mexico in the first place? Was it because one bright morning at the Koffee Klatsch he unexpectedly grabbed the wrong pot, and poured himself a big, brown mug of Humanitarianism? Or is there something else at work?
Surely it can't be the theme of disastrous religiously-inspired violence that ties together The Passion of the Christ and Apocolypto. As Time.com points out, that would make the omission of the Spaniards' Holy Conquest and Mass, um, Conversion an egregious one. And I know (despite those voices cynically stating that he makes these grand films only to pad his own wallet) that Mel "One More for the Road" Gibson offers this portrayal of the Ancient Mayan civilization with the unadulterated intent to help the great unwashed masses better appreciate the majesty and might and brilliance of such a People. He uses different language, but he is quoted saying almost the same thing.
Gibson seems certain that the film's 'kinetic energy' will make Maya language and culture 'cool' enough to attract a crowd."
Yet, I feel like a piece is missing. Even with Mel "Fuck tha Jewish Police" Gibson's well-established and long-running interest in indigenous peoples and Mexican
history food, I feel like there's something else....
I mean...why would he not only overemphasize the mass sacrfices of the Maya (more of a Toltec and Aztec thing), but invent a character who runs away from these sacrifices? What would compel him to begin his research with the Mayan Creation and Destruction myths? Why on Earth would he give a film about the tragic destruction of a great civilization a title that "roughly translates" as "A New Beginning?" And what did the Maya have, exactly, that would enrapture Mel so?
Surely he can't be laboring under the assumption that the end of El Quintosol (2012) is (in addition to being a restaurant, travel agency, hotel, and reggae band) going to be the End of the World? Surely that can't be the reason he would go to all the trouble of making such an epic film? I can't believe that!
A GREAT CIVILIZATION IS NOT CONQUERED FROM WITHOUT....UNTIL IT HAS BEEN DESTROYED FROM WITHIN.
Mel "Sorry I Destroyed Your Breathalyzer" Gibson teamed up with a friend when writing this film. Farhad Safinia was actually a P.A. on the set of a comedy TV show called Complete Savages. This is Farhad's first major motion picture writing credit, and that's quite a big leap up from Production Assistant. Anyone who has worked on a film set knows what being a P.A. means, and also knows that "P.A." is just another way to say "gopher." Or "Stanpher." As in "Stan' fer a while by this door and make sure no one-eyed Italian antelopes prance through," wherein "a while" can be roughly translated into "all day." I'm not sure what qualified Mr. Safinia for this huge and delicate task, nor what views Mel "Jews Are the Cause of All Wars" Gibson shares with his friend Farhad, except for those that are quoted online. The ones that have to do with, O, you know. The Rapture.
'The parallels between the environmental imbalance and corruption of values that doomed the Maya and what's happening to our own civilization are eerie."
And so we reach the end of our query, perhaps. It's just like everyone says. That simple. Mel finds TV friend who shares views on the End Times, teams up, reconstructs a few Quetzel feathers with which to stroke each other's visions of Holy Armageddon, and lays it down on celluloid (HD24?). I guess, when you look at it this way, it seems that Mel "I'm in Love With Death" Gibson has found a backdoor through which to preach to the World (once again), about his Holy Religion. And that's not so bad at all, right? Nothin' wrong with that. In fact, it seems pretty American to me. And that means it seems Damn Good.
I mean, sure, it's possible that Mel "I've Only Got One Thing Left to Say" Gibson is seeing things through a warped lens. It is possible that regardless of what history, or even what some Mayan people say themselves, Mel "Tha Gorefather" Gibson would still find a way to channel his very particular lecture. And I shouldn't be too harsh on him. After all, he is telling a story about Mexico and about our history. So perhaps we ought to lay off the "Mel is a drunken anti-semite who is losing his mind" talk, and instead, thank this visionary man who has come forth with such bold and pioneering spirit to conquer the chasm of ignorance that divides the history of the Maya from the rest of the World. It is his hunger and passion that are refueling this world's tired ventricles of the soul, and preparing us for the new outlook that is sorely needed.
'I need to see the blood!' shouts Mel Gibson. 'Your character is going to die soon!' He picks up a bullhorn: 'Attention! We are all dying here! We are all dying!'
—Mel "Nine Stations" Gibson
Oh, and about that apology? Why don't we just call it even. After all, in the face of the world ending and all, I hardly think such things matter anymore.
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Tracked on 7 de Diciembre 2006 a las 02:32 PM