As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, the rulers insist the key to prosperity is to build more temples and offer human sacrifices. Jaguar Paw, a young man captured for sacrifice, flees to avoid his fate.
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In the Maya civilization, a peaceful tribe is brutally attacked by warriors seeking slaves and human beings for sacrifice for their gods. Jaguar Paw hides his pregnant wife and his son in a deep hole nearby their tribe and is captured while fighting with his people. An eclipse spares his life from the sacrifice and later he has to fight to survive and save his beloved family. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
According to director Mel Gibson and co-writer Farhad Safinia's DVD commentary, the halting of the sacrifices at the onset of a solar eclipse is a carefully-timed ruse by the Mayan ruling class. As precocious astrologers, the Mayans used their knowledge of celestial phenomena to control the underclass. See more »
A solar eclipse can only take place at new moon. However, the night following the eclipse has a full moon. See more »
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." W. Durant
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Say what you want about Mel Gibson, but he knows how to make an authentically real statement about the human condition. The movie is about civilization and how smaller is better. There are some rain-forest dwelling American natives, somewhere in America where there are jaguars and monkeys. Then there are some "civilized" natives, with a huge society of nobles, serfs, slaves and sacrificial victims who get their hearts torn out and heads chopped off on top of a pyramid, for the appeasement of their gods and for the sake of controlling and entertaining the "citizens." Our noble small villagers of the forest are ultimately hunted down and enslaved by the more organized, and totally vicious, pyramid builders. This is a story of how one of these villagers deals with the horrific trials that his captors heap upon him. The whole movie is in an ancient native language, subtitled in English, and it lends an air of excruciating authenticity to the happenings. One gets the feeling of being a time traveler, as this 500-year-old world seems so real, with every detail of weaponry, cookware, clothing, jewelry, labor practices, buildings, village characters, and sacrificial ceremonies so obviously researched that it made me feel uncomfortably like I was involved in it all. We are constantly getting the crowd's point of view of all the empire's activities and abuse of its captives and underlings. There is a lot to look at here, from God's beautiful nature to man's nightmarish creations, so it deserves to be seen on a big screen.
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