FILM REVIEW Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum



London’s British Museum London’s British Museum

AS movie ticket sales decline, Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum gives an interesting insight into not only Roman history, but also the future of film production.

Filmed live for audiences in the United Kingdom and now distributed worldwide, this cinema broadcast takes viewers on a guided tour of the British Museum’s exhibit, which brought together more than 250 objects discovered at the Pompeii and Herculaneum digging sites.

For about 90 minutes, tour guides Peter Snow and Bettany Hughes explore the exhibit with fellow historians, tracing the last steps of Pompeii and Herculaneum’s civilians and discussing the importance of individual pieces of all sizes, which are often overlooked by overwhelmed museum-goers.

Considering the museum filmed and screened the movie live, complete with a hashtag for online discussion, Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum is ahead of its time and a new format of film that could re-energize the film and museum industry.

However, there are kinks to work out with the narrative of Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum lacking excitement.

The intense interviews that dwell on topics for longer than they probably should are likely to fail in holding the attention of audience members who are not history enthusiasts, which is a shame because it is younger viewers who would get the most out of watching it.

Despite this, the idea behind the movie is genius as it overcomes the limitations of transporting invaluable exhibit items to educate and entertain regular people who wish to see exhibitions but cannot afford to travel.

If producers can master a narrative that engages audiences, broadcasted museum tours could be the teaching tool of the future and one that would only encourage more people to physically visit museums.

Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum
3 stars
Opens August 29 at Luna Windsor, Luna on SX, Hoyts Carousel and Event Cinemas Innaloo

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Thursday 23 Oct 2014

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