documentary DVD and movie reviews and previews from - curled up with a good dvd
documentary DVD reviews and previews from - curled up with a good dvd
DVD reviews, previews and info - documentary
  action movies on DVD
  animation on DVD
  art house and international / foreign language films on DVD
  comedies on DVD
  documentaries on DVD
  dramas on DVD
  children's and family DVDs
  horror and sci-fi on DVD
  suspense on DVD
  television series on DVD
  Blu-ray DVD reviews


Mona Lisa Revealed: Secrets of the Painting - documentary DVD / independently produced DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 2 stars
Featuring: Richard Genhardt, Cinzia Mandati Li Bassi
Director: Caroline Cocciardi   Distributor: Microcinema
DVD release: 31 March 2009   Runtime: 56 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled
DVD Features: 1.33:1 and 1.85:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Surround - English), Subtitles (French, Spanish), Closed caption, "The 26 Secrets of Mona Lisa"

One of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous works is the Mona Lisa, aka La Gioconda. It's a striking work to be sure, but since it was finished in the early 1500s, it's been stolen from the Louvre and was missing for two years; a rock was hurled at it; it was damaged with acid. Poor girl's been through a lot - that's part of the mystique. Unfortunately she won't be left alone. Filmmaker Caroline Cocciardi has unleashed this poor documentary to further tarnish the luster of da Vinci's immortal work.

The weak structure that holds this film up is the high-resolution multi-spectral photography performed on lady Gioconda by Pascal Cotte, an inventor of many cameras and other optical technologies. Cotte's work is important and it's worth doing with the Mona Lisa and other works of fine art. However, there is really not enough information here to spend as much time as they did on it. It should be an enhancer, not the foundation.

Cotte's photography can reveal perhaps the original colors and brightness of the painting. Apparently there's been much speculation as to whether Miss Gioconda was painted with eyelashes and eyebrows. Cotte believes she was and has a single hair visible on his high-res picture. This is actually good information, though maybe not worthy of much more than a 15-minute feature. The filmmakers have taken this information and stretched it out to an hour and padded it with lots of speculation on Lisa's hand positions, clothing, her smile, bits of the background, and strung the whole thing together with a bizarre narrative.

The film is narrated periodically throughout by either Mona Lisa or the woman who is the subject of the painting; I'm unsure which, as were apparently the writers. The narration is annoying; "They say there are secrets hidden beneath my painted self." The film is also narrated by a competent narrator named Richard Gebhardt. They should have stuck with that. The film goes along with Gebhardt narrating for a while, then Lisa comes back and slaps you out of the film again.

There is so much to know about the painting, the artist, the times in which the painting was made, yet the film spends too much time stroking Pascal Cotte's ego. I was surprised he wasn't listed as a producer.

An extra feature lists 26 "secrets" about the Mona Lisa. I wouldn't call them secrets. Most of them are just features, and not kept from public knowledge by any stretch of the imagination.
  buy this DVD now or browse millions of other great products at
reviewed by Eric Renshaw
    action | animation | art house/international | comedy | documentary | drama | family | horror/sci-fi | suspense | television    
    browse DVDs alphabetical by title    
    contact | home