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Media and Culture: Apocalypto
The film Apocalypto, directed by Mel Gibson, is a story of the Mayan kingdom
during the peak of power and opulence but the empire is beginning to fall as a result of
poor societal norms. To prevent this, the leaders resolve to sacrifice more people and
building more temples. A peaceful hunter, Jaguar Paw, is seized along with his village to
be sacrificed until he decides to escape to get to his family. However, Paw’s survival
comes when his entire community is destroyed on orders from the ruler and this changes
his life completely. This film captures a contemporary depiction of the Mayan culture and
its civilization. The film’s director utilized cinematographic aspects to produce a film that
attempts to critique the government’s abuse and tyranny. Gibson explains that the film
demonstrates both the cultural and social realities of America as it strives to deal with
economic crisis, terrorism, and migration: factors threatening the country’s global
A closer look at Apocalypto presents the idea that America struggles to hold up its
national identity about its race, conservative theological roots, militaristic culture, and
imperialist history. This film is effective since it presents social and cultural concerns that
reflect modern American society and all other societies across the globe as well. Using
textual analysis as well as audience research as tools for analysis, this paper will
demonstrate that a civilization or society which is unable to uphold its traditions,
spirituality, and beliefs is destined to crumble.
Textual analysis in cultural research studies addresses the analysis and close
reading of cultural messages and how these messages shape and affect society (Grossberg
et al. 21). In this c...