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Cabeza De Vaca (1990) was directed by Nicholas Echevarria. The film depicts a powerful, mythic, and visual image of the interaction between two cultures. It unveils problematic situations faced by the main character. Cabeza De Vaca conceptualizes to recreate the sense of the first encounters of Europeans and natives of America. This paper seeks to provide a brief synopsis of Nicholas’ film Cabeza De Vaca that has got numerous awards in different nominations and is well known as award winning history of Mexico.

Cabeza de Vaca depicts a story of devout Christian traveler Cabeza De Vaca. The ship of Spanish conquistadors was crashed during expedition. The one among five survivors was Cabeza De Vaca. He became a slave of the shaman of one Native American tribe. The traveler was converted to slavery and assisted the shaman. Cabeza De Vaca learnt about the native culture of his master as well as the healing practices. Allegedly, the Spaniard pressured to be a healer. However, his skills in healing were recognized by the shaman, who decided to free Cabeza de Vaca. He gained trading privileges as well as high social status in the territory of Native Americans. Tentatively, the social status was imperative regarding the main character’s quest for survival.

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Cabeza de Vaca has travelled eight years. He saw myriad alterations across the new land of America. The conquistador has learnt the mysterious and strange culture of the natives (Terrell, 1997). According to the rapidly unfolding plot of the film, the New World clashes with the Old World. Nicholas Echevarria tries to show the unique and mature culture of Native Americans before the influence of the New World. Cabeza de Vaca’s interaction with Native Americans is the driving force of the film.

Nicolas Echeverria, being an ethnologist, has directed numerous documentaries. His knowledge of Native American culture in Cabeza de Vaca is shown in the detailed, interesting view. The Native Americans live in primitive ways surviving by means of hunting and gathering. Nevertheless, Cabeza de Vaca learnt essential lessons being a part of foreign culture for a while.  

Initially Cabeza de Vaca viewed the natives as barbarous brutes. The natives’ emotion and weeping flustered his prejudice. The Spaniards were of the idea that their physical and mental shipwreck attributed the extent of their own plight. As a result, this has assisted Cabeza de Vaca to overcome the fear of human sacrifice. Consequently, he presented himself to the crown as a frantic person in need of food and shelter. The contact with Native Americans has affected the Spaniards and natives in retrospect to their culture.

Conclusively, the period of interaction of both cultures has influenced the US-Mexican borderland. Nevertheless, the film transpires to portray the life of a man and his quest for survival. In retrospect to the film, two different cultures have become evolving and shaped human relationships. The movie unveils the human life considering the notions of adaptation and survival. Cabeza de Vaca may be interpreted as a surrealistic point of view on the nature of early interaction between Europeans and North American Indians.

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