MOVIE MAKING AT ITS BEST
Mel Gibson is one of the greatest directors of our time. This is because he does not direct a film production crew, he inspires them to greatness through his leadership. Go on location with a Gibson directed movie and you will see him get wet and dirty with his actors, for to use a quote from his film 'Once we were Soldiers', " in order to inspire your men you have to be where the metal meets the meat." Mel is very much a hands on director who also has the benefit of being one of the greatest actors alive. I will never the forget the night I saw "The Passion", how at the end off the film the audience left the cinema in total silence-you could have heard a pin drop. "The Passion" is cinematic poetry. No matter what your religious beliefs are, the film can grip your heart and soul and move you to tears with its brutal and emotional retelling of how one man protected his family, his friends, his followers and his mantra by dieing on a cross at the hill of the skull in Jerusalem over 2000 years ago. No one would put up the money for his film about the last hours of Jesus, so Mel put the money up himself which he got back in quick time through the box office after the movies release. Last year Mel Gibson turned his hand to cinematic retelling of how one simple forest dweller took on the might of the Mayan Empire-and won. The film is called Apocalypto. All the roles were given to Indian actors who were then unheard of outside of Mexico. The script that Mel co-wrote with Farhad Sarfinia was translated into Mayan in order to drag the audience deeper into the story. having the lines delivered in the language of the time makes you feel more like a witness as against some one who is watching a an act. The film was shot in the Mexican jungle at locations that were harsh, hazardous and spectacular. The film has been deemed by some as being gratuitously violent. Well, I took my girlfriend to watch the film with me and Monica, who freely admits to watching many of Hollywood's productions from the last 10 years through hands placed over her eyes to prevent herself from seeing the portrayed blood letting on the screen before her said that she could not see what the fuss was all about. As far as the violent aspects of the film go, Mr Gibson does not step outside the boundaries of what is absolutely necessary to the story. The life of a Mayan during the supposed glory days of the empire included compulsory participation in ritual sacrifice and bloodletting. Self mutilation was practiced in Mayan homes and on the streets. It is now understood that self mutilation is a way of dealing with stress-and nothing could be more stressful than living a life were the principle daily expectations were blood and death. Mayans were regularly summoned to the centre of their cities in order to witness the bloody murders of captives taken from non Mayan villages. Then there were the infamous Mayan ball games in which the losers were often decapitated. Mr Gibson's Apocalyto could quiet as easily have been much more bloody if he had wanted it so. The Mayan Empire had always been terminally diseased. Position within Mayan society was determined by birth and not by merit. The wealth of the Mayans was stolen by military might. The Mayans may have had the knowledge to devise one of the most complex systems of writing ever known; but the civilization was incapable of preventing ecological disaster caused by overpopulation and excessive deforestation of its surrounding lands. It took a long time, but eventually Mayan cancer of excess lead to the civilizations disintegration. The film Apocalypto deserved the best picture Oscar and Mel deserved one for Best Director; but the Academy left the film out in the cold-one can speculate as to its reasons. One thing that you can not say about Mel Gibson is that he makes bad pictures because he doesn’t. The man is a consummate actor and one of the greatest living Directors. The Academy chose to leave Mr Gibson and his film out of the running for the most coveted awards at this years Oscars ceremony, but that does not take away from the fact that Apocalypto is brilliant in every way.
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