Review: Greece: Secrets of the Past (2006)


Directed by: Greg MacGillivray | documentary | Actors: Christos Sourmelis

Director, filmmaker and producer Greg MacGillivray (1945) has been making films for more than 40 years. He has great success with his big screen films and is known for his artistic and technological innovations. MacGillivray has won numerous international film awards. “The Living Sea” (1995) and “Dolphins” (2000) have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Documentary. ‘Everest’ (1998) is the first big screen film to reach the Variety top ten and ‘To Fly!’ (1996) is included in the national American film archive, which includes top films like ‘Gone With the Wind’, ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘Star Wars’ belong.

In 2002, MacGillivray is honored by the Giant Screen Theater Association for his contribution to the success of big screen films and receives the Bradford Washburn Award from the Museum of Science in Boston for his contribution to education. Receiving the Award makes him part of the select group of Jacques Cousteau and Jane Goodall, among others.

Also “Greece: Secrets of the Past” is a big screen film. MacGillivray takes viewers in it to the Greek islands of Santorini and Delos and the capital Athens. He uses computer animations, footage of an archaeological excavation and typical IMAX images – bird’s-eye views over land and sea – and blends them together seamlessly. Impressive is the lifelike digital reconstruction of the 120 meter high statue of the goddess Pallas Athena in the Parthenon in Athens. The spectacular volcanic eruption was also made with the help of graphic computer techniques. The specific projection technique and advanced sound system in the IMAX theaters tries to make viewers feel that the people of Santorini must have felt in the distant past. Avalanches of stones and lava seem to make their way to the audience in the hall with a thunderous roar.

Unfortunately, “Greece: Secrets of the Past” offers little more than spectacular images. The film can hardly be called informative. That does not alter the fact that seeing this film is a special experience, because the viewer gets the feeling of flying with MacGillivray over the Greek coasts and seas, swimming underwater with the dolphins and, like the archaeologists, being amazed when the Greek past comes to life.

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