~ There is only one journey: going inside yourself. ~
- Rainer Maria Rilke


Babies! ~ Sunday, December 24, 2006

We had an eventful day, beginning with an alarm that went off later than we expected. Thence, a headlong rush into Toronto, to drop off Tom's parents' car and on to a friend's place for a "meet the baby" celebration in the wake of her naming ceremony (which was an intimate gathering that took place yesterday). Little Emily Lauren is just lovely! She's about two weeks old in this photo, but the day after she returned from the hospital, her mom was featured in a photo (lighting a menorah) that was published in the national paper--Emily and her dad are visible in the background, and so she was not even a week old when she got national coverage! Not bad at all!

After a nice visit, we headed back to Waterloo and carol singing, some of which was by candle light, which was fun! I can never say no to any opportunity that involves singing, after all!

So, once that put us nicely in the Christmas spirit, we went to see Apocalypto, which featured, in graphic detail, pillage, rape, cruelty and human sacrifice. It was an interesting film--and I really wished there could have been more sequences in the city just for the fascination of watching the worldbuilding.

The story itself was not unpredictable--you could kind of tell where it was going, though from time to time, I wondered whether there'd be some kind of twist. There were none, however. There were a few bits where I liked the ingenuity of his methods, but otherwise, no surprises. Still, there were some really engaging action sequences--though I could probably have done with less graphic detail. The argument in favour of the horrors would, perhaps, just be that then we have a teeny tiny glimpse of how awful such situations are--situations that continue to happen in places around the world today, where ethnic cleansing, wholesale slaughter, rape and displacement still happens. So seeing that perhaps is a reminder to those of us in our comfortable, secure ivory towers.

Overall, it was a fairly straightforward morality tale. I suppose I would rather have had all that energy, work and industry go towards giving us more glimpses of that world in which it was set--and recreating some version of the cities that we read about but have had little exposure to by way of re-enactment (we've all seen so many re-enactments of ancient Rome or Greece, for instance, that we're fairly familiar with what it probably was like, when it comes to general look and feel--this gave us a tantalizing glimpse of another culture in that way, and I would gladly have had more). I think meso-America (pre-Europeans) has a fascinating history and I'm glad that there's been some attention given to it in such a high profile way, even if it ends up being a flash in the pan rather than a new cultural meme.

I also would have loved to have seen it in a more everyday context, rather than as it was portrayed, which was from the point of view of guys who have just seen their families slaughtered, and have been dragged to the city in captivity, to be offered up as human sacrifices. Namely: frightening, violent, exotic, decayed, angry and horrifying. Though some argue that this shows the city and the civilization in a negative light, I do think some consideration should be given to the fact that it is being shown from the captives' point of view, rather than an omniscient one--presumably a choice made by Gibson to heighten the emotional intensity of the situation. Showing a more balanced perspective of some happy people living out their lives while others are miserable or angry would rather undercut the urgency of the story and the captives' fear, IMO.

And, despite the negative portrayal, I felt a dawning sense of wonder when I realised that after all the jungle we had seen they were now actually in a city.

Of course, I knew going in that there were inaccuracies (e.g. the village as it was would have been was from a different, later era than the city they showed, which was earlier in the cycle of the civilization, according to wiki)--but despite a few juxtapositions of diverse elements and periods (sometimes borrowed from other meso-American cultures, presumably to create a sense of visual interest), no-one seems to be objecting too much to the overall look and feel of the styling and the culture. And that's really the important thing, I'd think--to introduce us to a culture (or several) that we're simply not accustomed to seeing or observing, with its general tendencies, fashions and ways of life. And that, to me, was mesmerizing.

::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 11:18 PM::::


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Anduril Elessar
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