The Lost King of the Maya, a Documentary Directed by Glassman Gary - Movie Review Paper

Published: 2021-08-15
776 words
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George Washington University
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Movie review
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Question 2: A short introduction telling the reader briefly about the film and what you will be discussing.

The documentary, The lost kings of Maya, follows the work of renowned archaeologists in their endeavor to discover the remains of Yax Kuk Mo, a great ancient ruler who is believed to haunt a valley that is located deep in the jungles of Honduras, Central America (Glassman, 2007). This review will identify the biases presented in the documentary, highlight the political aspects of the Maya kings, summarize the important aspects portrayed in the film, explain the primary aspects of Maya politics represented in the movie, and finally explain the role of the film in complementing the course materials.

Question 3: Explain the purpose and/or message of the film and identify any biases in the video.

The documentary was recorded to provide first-hand information about the sovereign rulers of the Maya society. Moreover, the director aimed at increasing archeologists access to vital information to facilitate an accurate translation and analysis of the artefacts collected. From my perspective, the documentary has numerous incidences of bias. To start with, the artefacts discovered in this historical sites are believed to belong to male individuals only. Remarkably, there is no mention of females participation in the Mayan society. Secondly, the role of Yax Kuk Mo as the supreme ruler of the Maya society is exaggerated, the documentary majorly revolves around this individual while neglecting other important aspects that may point the archaeologists to an even better understanding of the Mayan culture, religion, and societal structure.

Question 4: A short summary of the film. This summary must highlight the most important aspects of the political life of the Maya kings.

Across the film, the archaeologists investigate the temples, monuments and try to interpret the meaning of complex hieroglyphic language. Moreover, these archaeologists try to analyze Maya trade routes and the agricultural techniques that they used. The Maya kingdom grew to dizzying heights of achievements, more than 2000 years ago, before it eventually collapsed in the 9th century AD (Glassman, 2007). The supreme ruler and the alleged founder of the ancient Maya civilization were Yax Kuk Mo. Maya rulers were blood-thirsty monsters who presided over the Maya city of Copan. The rulers conducted psychedelic vision expeditions, human sacrifice, and ritual combat. During the war, the losers were sacrificed in a religious ritual that was accomplished by beheading.

Question 5: Explain two aspect of Maya politics that caught your attention. Why were these particularly interesting?

The most outstanding political aspect of the Mayan civilization is that they adopted a hierarchical form of government that was ruled by both kings and priests. In this form of governance, religion was woven in almost all facets of daily life, and thus it acted as the main unifying factor (Glassman, 2007). To appease the gods, the Mayans practiced human sacrifices and often raided other communities for victims. Secondly, the Mayan society had no readily standing armies for protection of the community, and their cities were not fortified to keep enemies away. Nevertheless, warfare played a central role in enhancing religion, power, and prestige among the society members. Considering the complexity of the buildings erected by the Mayan architects, and the economic prosperity experienced by this ancient civilization, one expects the Mayan community to have a readily standing army for defense. Their failure to address such issues is mesmerizing.

Question 6: Explain how, and in what ways the video complimented course materials in helping you understand the prehistoric Maya culture.

Unlike books, which do not provide visual cues about the ancient Maya civilization, the images portrayed in the documentary enhances ones comprehension of the cultural, social, and religious aspects of the Maya people. Remarkably, the film depicts the ancient Maya paintings and sculptures that accentuate the Mayan religion, political, and social life. Moreover, it enables one to get first-hand information about the infamous Maya shrine since the information is narrated by the archaeologists who discovered and explored the primeval Maya civilization.

Question 7: A conclusion that summarizes the key points of your review.

The documentary, The lost kings of Maya, highlights the historical and political life of the Mayan kings and the rise and fall of the Mayan kingdom. To achieve this, the archaeologists depicts the ancient sculptures and interpret the writing system used by this society. Moreover, the archaeologist strives to locate the tomb and remains of the Yax Kuk Mo, an ancient ruler who is believed to be the founder of the Maya kingdom. Finally, the documentary sheds light on the roles of kings and priest in the political leadership of the Mayan society.


Glassman, Gary (Director). (2007). Lost King of the Maya. PBS/NOVA. WGBH Educational Foundation: Boston.

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