Life goes on... like an echo in the forest...

APOCALYPTO - New Beginning (2006)

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2007. 2. 10.





Apocalypto is an Academy Award-nominated 2006 epic film directed by Mel Gibson, starring Rudy Youngblood. Set in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, it depicts a Mesoamerican tribesman's experience of an armed invasion and destruction of his tribe, and subsequent manhunt for him during the declining period of the ancient Maya civilization.



Opening quote:
A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.

W. Durant


Description: Jaguar Paw (left) and his father Flint Sky (right) in Apocalypto (2006).
Source: © 2006 Warner Bros. Pictures. All Rights Reserved.



While hunting Baird's Tapir in the Mesoamerican jungle, Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), his father Flint Sky (Morris Birdyellowhead), and their fellow tribesmen encounter a procession of traumatized and fearful refugees. The procession's leader explains that their lands have been ravaged, and asks for Flint Sky's permission to pass through the jungle. When Jaguar Paw and his tribesmen return to their village, Flint Sky tells his son not to let the procession's state of fear seep into him. At night, the tribe's elder tells the village a fable of man forever unable to fill his want, despite having been given the capabilities of all of the animals. The villagers follow the story with music and dance, leaving Jaguar Paw to ponder.
The next morning, Jaguar Paw wakes from a nightmare to see strangers enter the village and set the huts ablaze. The raiders, led by Zero Wolf (Raoul Trujillo), attack and subdue the villagers. Jaguar Paw slips out with his pregnant wife Seven (Dalia Hernández) and his little son Turtles Run, lowering them on a vine into a small cave (a chultun, shaped something like a well)[1] to hide them. Jaguar Paw returns to the village to fight the raiders but is subdued with the rest of the tribe. A raider whom Jaguar Paw attacked and almost killed, the vicious Middle Eye (Gerardo Taracena), slits Flint Sky's throat while Jaguar Paw helplessly watches.
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Before the raiders leave the village with their prisoners, one suspicious raider severs the vine leading into the ground cave, trapping Jaguar Paw's wife and son within. The raiders and their captives trek toward the Maya city, encountering failed maize crops and slaves producing plaster. They also pass a small girl with leprosy who, after entering a trance-like state, prophesies to the raiders that their end is near, including details of darkness in the middle of the day and a man bringing a jaguar. In the city's outskirts, the female captives are sold as slaves and the males are escorted to the top of a step pyramid. The high priest sacrifices several captives by decapitating them after pulling out their beating hearts. When Jaguar Paw is about to be sacrificed, a solar eclipse stays the priest's hand. The priest declares the sun god Kukulkan satisfied with the sacrifices. The eclipse passes, and light returns to the world.
Zero Wolf, told by the priest to "dispose" of the remaining captives, takes them to a ball field. The captives are released in pairs and forced to run the length of the field to win their freedom. The raiders target them with javelins, arrows, and slingstones as they run. Jaguar Paw is struck by an arrow through the abdomen but reaches the end of the field and removes the arrow tip. Zero Wolf's son, Cut Rock, approaches to finish him off with an obsidian blade, but Jaguar Paw stabs him through the jaw with the arrow tip. As Cut Rock dies a painful death, Jaguar Paw escapes through a withered maize field and an open mass grave. The enraged Zero Wolf and his raiders pursue Jaguar Paw into the jungle and back toward Jaguar Paw's home. Along the way, one of the raiders is killed by a black jaguar that has been disturbed by Jaguar Paw. As he flees, Jaguar Paw jumps over a high waterfall and survives, declaring from the riverbank below that the raiders are now in his territory.
Zero Wolf's raiders fall to both the forest's elements and Jaguar Paw's traps. A heavy rain sets in, which begins to flood the ground cave in which Jaguar Paw's wife and son are still trapped. Jaguar Paw defeats Middle Eye in hand-to-hand combat and kills Zero Wolf by leading him into a trap meant for hunting tapir. He is chased by two remaining raiders out to a beach where they encounter Spanish conquistadores and missionaries making their way ashore in boats. The amazement of the raiders allows Jaguar Paw to flee. He returns into the forest to pull his wife and son out of the pit where they are hiding. He returns in time to save the family, and sees that his wife has given birth to a healthy second son. As the family walks near the coastline, Jaguar Paw's wife asks what the strange objects near the shore are. Jaguar Paw responds only that "they bring men". Jaguar Paw and his family go deeper into the forest, "to seek a new beginning", leaving the conquistadores who are anchored in ships off the beach.