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Unveiling the Controversies Surrounding Mel Gibson’s ‘Apocalypto’

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Unveiling the Controversies Surrounding Mel Gibson’s ‘Apocalypto’

Mel Gibson’s 2006 film “Apocalypto” has remained one of the most controversial works of his directorial career. Coming off the success of “The Passion of the Christ,” Gibson surprised audiences by presenting a historical and wild adventure drama completely spoken in Mayan.

The film follows the epic journey of Jaguar Claw, a young hunter from the Mesoamerican era, as he navigates the dangers of the Yucatan region in Mexico during the 16th century. With a budget of $40 million, “Apocalypto” achieved global success, grossing over $120 million and receiving positive reviews for its direction, cinematography, and performances.

However, the film was not without its controversies. Despite its critical acclaim, “Apocalypto” faced accusations of racism and plagiarism. Indigenous communities in Guatemala criticized the film for promoting negative stereotypes of the Mayan civilization, while Mexican director Juan Mora Catlett accused Gibson of plagiarizing scenes from his own film.

Despite the controversies, “Apocalypto” garnered praise from notable figures in Hollywood, with Robert Duvall, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese hailing it as a masterpiece. Spike Lee even included it on his list of essential films. In Mexico, the film surpassed other major releases in audience numbers, with 80% of Mexicans surveyed rating it as “very good” or “good.”

The legacy of “Apocalypto” continues to spark discussions about representation and cultural sensitivity in filmmaking, showcasing both the acclaim and controversy that can accompany a directorial work like Gibson’s.

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