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False Representation

In: Film and Music

Submitted By LYAB
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False Representation While watching Mel Gibson’s movie, Apacalypto, he depicts Native Americans with typical stereotypes that we commonly see in today’s society. Some of the stereotypes that are included have to do with their clothing, physical features, personality and their ability to become one with nature. All these aspects were shown through the main character Jaguar Paw as he faced the many difficulties that came his way.
The clothing and physical features that Mel Gibson present are common stereotypes of Native Americans acting like uncivilized savages. In the movie, Jaguar Paw was mostly naked except for an undergarment he wore below the waist. He had tattoos, big piercings, and wore many necklaces, amulets, and bands around his body. Also, he had the body type of a physical fit and toned man with long braided hair. These are all common stereotypes of a typical Native American. They are seen as savages because they wear little or no clothing at all and the amulets that they wear are made from animals that they hunt. Moreover, Jaguar Paw had the stereotypical body, that all Native Americans were fit and muscularly toned because they are hunters and warriors. However, not all Native Americans were naked and physically fit. Every tribe had their own unique style of clothing jewelry and not all men were in shape.
In a particular scene that involved Jaguar Paw, he was portrayed even more as a savage and barbarian. In this scene, Jaguar Paw and his hunting group kill a tapir and dismember it, taking the heart, liver, ears, and balls out, distributing one of each part to members of the hunting group.1 This scene of Jaguar Paw portrayed Native Americans as barbarians and animalistic because after killing the tapir, they were screaming and shouting like brutes. Afterwards, as Jaguar Paw was cutting the tapir in parts, Mel Gibson did a wonderful job depicting the Native Americans as savages because the heart was still beating with blood all over his hands as he took it out of the body. This scene was gruesome, disgusting, and bloody, especially when he made his fellow hunters eat the tapir’s private parts. This scene was enough to successfully reinforce the Native American’s savage stereotypical nature.2
As the storyline progresses, Mel Gibson reflects more on environmental stereotypes of Native Americans through Jaguar Paw’s imitation of being one with nature. In a scene Jaguar Paw escapes back to his territory and fights off the enemy. As he begins his counter attack he uses the jaguar, the frogs, and bees to help defeat the enemy.1 He used the jaguar to help attack them; he used the frogs for its poisonous venom on needles and used the bees to sting them while he escaped perfectly fine using the stereotype that all Native Americans are extremely knowledgeable about the natural environment. This scene displayed that this is his land and that he is apart of nature.
Throughout the movie, as Mel Gibson portrays Jaguar Paw, he represents Native Americans of how they appear, act, and their knowledge of nature and becoming one with it. Overall, the main character encompassed several aspects of stereotypical characteristics of Native American through their style of fashion, body features, behavior and culture.…...

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