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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2009 at 15:29
A trailer for the movie "The Kautokeino rebellion" (2008):
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2009 at 15:53
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

 Even more, that's the same kind of bigotry that discriminate poor "hillybillies" and separates them from the rest of Americans. The people of the cities have always discriminated the "mountain" people. 
 
The dichotomy between the exotic rurals and city folks is really canonized in John Boormans "Deliverance" from 1972 when a vacation on the river is turned into a nightmare because of attacks from crazy hillbilly inbread madmen. This movie has got a lot of films following in it´s tracks, more and more grotesque (The Hills have Eyes, Wrong Turn and so on).
 
Classical scene from Deliverance, the duelling banjos:
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jams Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2009 at 15:56
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Even more, that's the same kind of bigotry that discriminate poor "hillybillies" and separates them from the rest of Americans. The people of the cities have always discriminated the "mountain" people.

That is probably much closer to the theme of the movie than anything Maya related.

 

There is a lot of other small themes in the movie. At one point the leader/priest is executing prisoners, but he knows about the imminent solar eclipse - he pretends to not know about it, and he asks if this is enough, and asks for a sign. It is obvious from that scene that he already knows it is going to happen, but he knowingly deceives the people, probably to keep the power structure intact, despite the famine and diseases. Keeping the populace in check. Actually it's a well executed scene, I have to admit that.

  

Now, what does that mean? I think it could be interpreted in two major ways. It could be seen as a warning that the authorities are deceiving the people, that perhaps science is a matter of faith, and that we're all being deceived (kind of the conspiracy interpretation, me thinks) or it could be interpreted as a claim that religious beliefs are wrong, that religious leaders are deceiving people.

 

Now, I don't think Gibson believes that religion is wrong, rather he has strong religious beliefs. He just believes that other peoples beliefs are wrong. That the major political, religious and/or science based leaders are wrong - and they know it. That we're just puppets.

Something like that.

 

All that has nothing to do with the Maya. The movie really is not about the Maya, it's just a setting.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2009 at 22:06
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

 
 Not that other misconceptions are put in their place; e. g. : "there where no such rainforest tribes around the maya cities". Placing aside the misunderstanding of "cities" rather than ceremonial centers within a dispersed agrarian hub, the idea does violence to the actual complexity and overlapping time spans unique to the Maya complex. Nevertheless, the Maya are but one of two peoples to actually develop a form of urbanization within a tropical rainforest ecology.
In the movie the people of Jaguar paw is portraited as some kind of hunter gatherers. In the period of classical maya time most people round the ceremonial centers, or cities, or whatever one prefers to call them, were agriculturalists.
 
Respect the terminology Carcharodon, and while one is at it understand the complexity of the chronology in any discussion of the Maya. The Maya were, even at the height of the Classical Period prior to AD 900, slash and burn agriculturalists [scarcely different in pattern from the Tupians we discussed in another thread]. Certainly, there were ethnic Maya throughout the rain forest disassociated from "ceremonial centers" whose agrarian practices bore more resemblance to "gathering" than to intense exploitation [e.g. the random sowing of food crops such as maize supplemented by wild plants and fruits]. If one understands the broad spectrum of time involved, one easily accepts the fact that the more complex settlement patterns were the exceptions to the general rule. This characteristic even permitted the continuance of ethnic Maya separateness first after the Toltec incursion and later with the Spaniards. Think of the "Lacandon".
 
Now as to anthropologists becoming involved as critics of the cinema, such a pastime is often inescapable. One wonders why they actually get involved in a discipline whose principal thrust is entertainment and not education. Besides, ever since anthropology emerged as a discipline, it practitioners did have "axes to grind" and often shaped interpretation to suit their own prejudices. They still do, so many a modern pontificator falls into the identical pit that trapped Franz Boas and later Margaret Meade.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2009 at 23:05
There is an interesting film about French Jesuits in early 17th century Canada, Black Robe.  Much of the film concerns interaction with the Indians, and interaction between the Indians themselves.  It doesn't show the Indians with whom they came in contact in the best light.
 
A Rousseau-like "noble savage" fad seems currently to be in fashion on the Web, but a lot of it is romance.
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 22-May-2009 at 23:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 00:21
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

 Respect the terminology Carcharodon, and while one is at it understand the complexity of the chronology in any discussion of the Maya. The Maya were, even at the height of the Classical Period prior to AD 900, slash and burn agriculturalists [scarcely different in pattern from the Tupians we discussed in another thread]. Certainly, there were ethnic Maya throughout the rain forest disassociated from "ceremonial centers" whose agrarian practices bore more resemblance to "gathering" than to intense exploitation [e.g. the random sowing of food crops such as maize supplemented by wild plants and fruits]. If one understands the broad spectrum of time involved, one easily accepts the fact that the more complex settlement patterns were the exceptions to the general rule. This characteristic even permitted the continuance of ethnic Maya separateness first after the Toltec incursion and later with the Spaniards. Think of the "Lacandon".
 
According to a friend of mine who for many years has worked as an archeologist studying the Maya there were no such hunter gatherer like people close to the May centers in Classical Period.
 
Also Mayan expert Andrea Stone find Jaguar Paws village a bit unrealistic:
"The otherness of Jaguar Paw's village relative to the city-dwellers--who were only a day's walk away after all--also strikes me as unreal. I would never have identified this place as the hometown of Classic Maya corn farmers, who lived in a dispersed settlement pattern. The crowded huts made of pole walls, devoid of the mud plaster they commonly used, reminds me, perhaps naively, of an Amazonian village, especially when everyone huddles around a fire at night. Practically lying in the dirt, they look like a merry band of hunter-gatherers. "
(Andrea Stone, a specialist in Mesoamerican art, particularly the art of the Classic Maya, teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has carried out fieldwork in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador)
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 00:31
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

There is an interesting film about French Jesuits in early 17th century Canada, Black Robe.   
 
Speaking of Jesuits, we also have the movie "The Mission" from 1986.
 
     
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 00:41
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

 
A Rousseau-like "noble savage" fad seems currently to be in fashion on the Web, but a lot of it is romance. 
 
Maybe it´s just a sort of counter reaction on the many negative stereotypes about Native Americans that previously has been so common in popular culture.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 02:08
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

 
A Rousseau-like "noble savage" fad seems currently to be in fashion on the Web, but a lot of it is romance. 
 
Maybe it´s just a sort of counter reaction on the many negative stereotypes about Native Americans that previously has been so common in popular culture.
 
Oh, I suppose that is so, but negative stereotypes (as all stereotypes) are like rumors.  There is always some truth to them.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 02:32
Quoth Carcharodon:
"According to a friend of mine who for many years has worked as an archeologist studying the Maya there were no such hunter gatherer like people close to the May centers in Classical Period."
 
Now it is your assumption that Gibson was portraying the classical Maya--and yes he could take such artistic liberties much as Longfellow did with his Idyll in the Spanish style, Hiawatha--and you were particularly bothered by the introduction of an European onto the setting. In this last instance, Gibson was not as far-fetched as you would like since years before the advent of Cortes and his successors, Gonzalo Guerrero integrated into Maya society at Chetumal [1511-1531] and, besides just as with the Xingu thread current political prejudices and the usual PC palaver have fractured history for their own very modern purposes. However, it is interesting that the history of Mayapan and the later Itza does provide a good base for the premises of Gibson. The Popol Vuh of the Quiche makes interesting reading.
 
Besides, keep in mind that all unqualified negatives are impossible to prove.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 13:21
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Now it is your assumption that Gibson was portraying the classical Maya--and yes he could take such artistic liberties much as Longfellow did with his Idyll in the Spanish style, Hiawatha--and you were particularly bothered by the introduction of an European onto the setting. In this last instance, Gibson was not as far-fetched as you would like since years before the advent of Cortes and his successors, Gonzalo Guerrero integrated into Maya society at Chetumal [1511-1531] and, besides just as with the Xingu thread current political prejudices and the usual PC palaver have fractured history for their own very modern purposes. However, it is interesting that the history of Mayapan and the later Itza does provide a good base for the premises of Gibson. The Popol Vuh of the Quiche makes interesting reading. 
 
Of course it´s hard to know exactly what Gibson thought when he made this movie, but it seems that most May experts who has critisized the film tend to compare the things they see in it with classical Maya. And in that setting the whites are an anachronism.
But, of course noone forbids Gibson to include whatever anachronism or other things he wants in his movie.
Some shoolars though doesn´t feel that historical or etnographical details are most important, they seem to be more concerned about the portraing of the May as very cruel and violent. The schoolars are afraid that such portrayals can strenghten prejudice against the Maya of today and affect them negatively.
 
Or as Traci Ardren, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Miami. puts it:
 
"I loved Gibson's film "Braveheart," I really did. But there is something very different about portraying a group of people, who are now recovering from 500 years of colonization, as violent and brutal. These are people who are living with the very real effects of persistent racism that at its heart sees them as less than human. To think that a movie about the 1,000 ways a Maya can kill a Maya--when only 10 years ago Maya people were systematically being exterminated in Guatemala just for being Maya--is in any way okay, entertaining, or helpful is the epitome of a Western fantasy of supremacy that I find sad and ultimately pornographic. It is surely no surprise that "Apolcalypto" has very little to do with Maya culture and instead is Gibson's comment on the excesses he perceives in modern Western society. I just wish he had been honest enough to say this. Instead he has created a beautiful and disturbing portrait that satisfies his need for comment but does violence to one of the most impressive of Native American cultures. "
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 13:34
A somewhat odd movie is "Where the River runs Black", from 1986.
 
It is set in the Amazon, where a young native woman lives together with dolphins. One day she meets a priest and becomes pregnant. In due time she gives birth to a son. She and her son lives for some years happily together with the dolphins.
One day though, she is murdered by a gang of gold seekers. The son survives but is later taken to the civilisation to be brought up there. But he plans to run away and seek revenge upon the people that murdered his mother.
This is a rather romantisized film with a message of civilisation critic in it. It is beatifully filmed.
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 13:47
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

A Rousseau-like "noble savage" fad seems currently to be in fashion on the Web, but a lot of it is romance. 
 
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

Oh, I suppose that is so, but negative stereotypes (as all stereotypes) are like rumors.  There is always some truth to them. 
 
That can of course be said about the picture of Noble people too, there is always some truth in that. People can be both Noble and Bad.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 13:54
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

...
 Of course it´s hard to know exactly what Gibson thought when he made this movie, but it seems that most May experts who has critisized the film tend to compare the things they see in it with classical Maya. And in that setting the whites are an anachronism.
But, of course noone forbids Gibson to include whatever anachronism or other things he wants in his movie. ...
 
I don't agree. It is easy to know the message behind Gibson movies. However, perhaps you have to be in touch with Latin American catholicism to understand it.
 
The idea is simple. According to Catholic's thesis, the conquist of the Americas was justified because brought Christianity to the New World. According to this view, Columbus was a sort of New Prophet of Christianity, second only to Jesus (In fact, Columbus believed that of himself, perhaps), and so much so that they tried to convert him in a saint Confused
Even more, the Catholic Kings are the superstars on this Catholic crusade.
 
 
The conquest is, therefore, explained as the way to bring salvation to a New World, which was a pristine Eden, but that was also dominated by the forces of evil (represented here by the Mayan civilization; but better, by the Aztec civilization which is really the one represented symbolically in the film through the Mayans).
 
The final scene, where the Spaniards are seen in the boat, represent the comming of Christianism, or of the Mesiah if you preffer. Look now at the standard portrait of the caravels and see how predominant is the Christian cross of the crusades.
 
 
Even today, the unofficial flag of the Hispanic people, the "La raza" flag, has three crosses on it.
 
 
That's why we said in Latin America that the conquest was done by the sword and the cross.
 
 


Edited by pinguin - 23-May-2009 at 13:57
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Still noone can forbid Gibson to do a movie like this, but of course one can critisize him.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 14:04
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

The conquest is, therefore, explained as the way to bring salvation to a New World, which was a pristine Eden, but that was also dominated by the forces of evil (represented here by the Mayan civilization; but better, by the Aztec civilization which is really the one represented symbolically in the film through the Mayans).
 
One can really wonder why Gibson didn´t do a film about the Astecs instead. As you say they are more often associated with the kind of violence one sees in Apocalypto.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2009 at 14:07
Perhaps he didn't want to expend too much money. Reproducing the ancient Tenochtitlan could have mean a lot more money that just showing a pyramid in the middle of the jungle as he did.
 
You can see the cash problems Gibson may had when you see the Spaniards just on a boat, and not on a ship as it should be.
 


Edited by pinguin - 23-May-2009 at 14:07
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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I can see that both Carch and Ping are caught upon their own assumptions and could give a hang about either Gibson or the Maya. As I've always iterated one learns little of the past by imposing one's contemporary exigencies and politics. The Classical Maya were no less violent than either the Europeans of their day or the hapless neighbors of Tenochtitlan in later centuries. As everyone should know by now, slash-and-burn agriculture requires the "protection" of territory far larger than the existing population might envision in modern terms to protect against soil exhaustion. Violence for the protection of territory and the guarantee of a reliable food supply was not only a fact-of-life in Maya Culture but became ingrained ritually as result of this economic reality. It was not so long ago that vaunted anthropologists [yes, those same folks you are so fond of Carch] incessantly iterated that it was the Toltec incursions of the 11th century that brought violence to the Maya! Such folderol is more than antihistorical it is entirely ahistorical. A simple review of any Maya stela lauding the feats of a particular "king" underscores just how foolish the refusal to recognize factual violence as a means of establishing identity really is...after all within the Maya concept of time, violence and destruction consumes the social axis!
 
By the way, Pinguin, the first European to contact Maya society, the aforementioned Gonzalo Guerrero and his original companions did reach the Yucatan in a boat rather than a caravel. They had been shipwrecked in Jamaica and reached the continental shore on a boat!


Edited by drgonzaga - 24-May-2009 at 17:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 18:04
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

...
 By the way, Pinguin, the first European to contact Maya society, the aforementioned Gonzalo Guerrero and his original companions did reach the Yucatan in a boat rather than a caravel. They had been shipwrecked in Jamaica and reached the continental shore on a boat!
 
That's a good one. Was Gibson portraying them? As far as I know Cortes found some Spaniards among the Mayas, but by them they were totally assimilated to local society so, rather than the Spanish converting Mayans into European culture, Cortes saw Spaniars totally "mayaized" Confused
 
With respect to boats crossing the Caribbean, Tainos did it as a matter of routine: from Venezuela to Cuba, and from there to the Mayan coast and Florida. The Cuban escapees shows that feat is not as difficult as it may seem at first.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 18:39
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

I can see that both Carch and Ping are caught upon their own assumptions and could give a hang about either Gibson or the Maya.
 

Most people are caught up  in some assumptions, you too, I believe.

 
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

As I've always iterated one learns little of the past by imposing one's contemporary exigencies and politics. The Classical Maya were no less violent than either the Europeans of their day or the hapless neighbors of Tenochtitlan in later centuries. As everyone should know by now, slash-and-burn agriculture requires the "protection" of territory far larger than the existing population might envision in modern terms to protect against soil exhaustion. Violence for the protection of territory and the guarantee of a reliable food supply was not only a fact-of-life in Maya Culture but became ingrained ritually as result of this economic reality.
 

Noone denies violence in ancient May culture (or in most other temporay cultures). But it seems that there are some critizism against Gibson that he exaggerated the violence.

 
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

It was not so long ago that vaunted anthropologists [yes, those same folks you are so fond of Carch] incessantly iterated that it was the Toltec incursions of the 11th century that brought violence to the Maya! Such folderol is more than antihistorical it is entirely ahistorical. A simple review of any Maya stela lauding the feats of a particular "king" underscores just how foolish the refusal to recognize factual violence as a means of establishing identity really is...after all within the Maya concept of time, violence and destruction consumes the social axis!
 

The science of anthropology also evolves. Yesterdays truths may not be valid today, and todays thruths maybe not will be valid tomorrow.

 

I don´t know if I´m more fond of anthroplogists than of any other people. But the science of anthropology is rather interesting.

 
 
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