MicroCinema // 2008 // 50 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart // April 11th, 2009
Can experts raise an eyebrow or two with modern scientific techniques?
The eyebrows in question, along with eyelashes, belong to Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci's famous painting -- or rather don't belong. The lady in the picture just doesn't have any eyebrows or eyelashes. Pascal Cotte, who invented a multispectral camera, says that wasn't always so, and his photographs of the painting prove it.
Mona Lisa Revealed: Secrets of the Painting concentrates on the brows and lashes, but looks at more than twenty other details uncovered by Cotte and others attempting the virtual restoration of Mona Lisa.
While I'm not an expert myself, the experts presented all appear credible and their theories are presented well enough that I could follow them. The documentary uses one annoying gimmick: narration that's supposedly the voice of the painting herself (Cinzia Mandati Li Bassi).
The program is mostly talking heads, so the picture quality isn't a big concern, but I didn't notice any problems with video or audio. A short bonus feature, "26 Secrets," sums up all the discoveries mentioned during the film and adds one that didn't make the cut, with additional footage.
What importance does the research and theorizing have? From what I gleaned here, they'll help with a virtual recreation of Da Vinci's original painting, free from the effects of time. The experts' ideas could also at some point help the Louvre decide whether to restore or clean Mona Lisa.
Mona Lisa's voice aside, Mona Lisa Restored takes its subject seriously. That's good if you're a serious student of the painting or art restoration, but probably not for the casual viewer.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 50 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated