Our Response to Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” (the first 14 mins):
“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” – W. Durant
This section of the movie comprised two main parts: the “balls” scene, and the “fishers” scene.
In the “balls” scene, intra-group dynamics and the importance of fertility are highlighted. The audience is shown the level of animosity that can quickly surface among members of the same group, for example, upon making a joke. The “balls” scene also portrayed the gruesome killing and skinning of a boar. This and the animosity among the men implied that there was always the potential for conflict within groups. The scene also indicates the importance of having children who would continue their lineage far into the future and with this the pain that infertility brings to men. This scene also challenges one’s steretoypes about medicinal practices of indigenous groups. This is highlighted by the humor that emerged from consuming the “balls” of the boar as a remedy for infertility.
The “fishers” scene signifies: reciprocity, civility, importance of the land to the groups that inhabit, inhabited and will inhabit the land for many years…
This scene foreshadows a war and displacement of people that is soon approaching their land. It also foreshadows intra-group conflicts that will take place due to migration of other groups on their territory.