'Secrets of the Past' Is Companion Piece to Exhibit
"A Day in Pompeii" won't be the only feature that explores the ancient past at Discovery Place in Charlotte this summer.
"Greece: Secrets of the Past" opened Friday, July 11, in The Charlotte Observer IMAX Dome Theatre, giving viewers the opportunity to explore another of the world's most enlightened cultures.
A sweeping archaeological journey back in time, "Greece: Secrets of the Past" sets out on a quest to uncover the buried secrets of one of the world's most enlightened societies -- ancient Greece -- that for 100 years became the center of human thought and creativity. From approximately 500 B.C. to 400 B.C., ancient Greece laid many of the foundations for the way we live today.
Using the exhilarating science of modern archaeology to decipher the past, the film probes some of the greatest lingering mysteries of this remarkable civilization: How did the Greek empire of some 2,500 years ago flourish so fantastically? What was life like in the Golden Age of ancient Greece? And, why did it suddenly fall?
At the heart of the film's journey is Dr. Christos Doumas, an impassioned Greek archaeologist who, inspired by his love of Greek culture, is working feverishly to piece together the puzzle of ancient Greece and better understand its influence on life today. Also playing a key role is Doumas' friend and fellow scientist, Dr. George Vougioukalakis, a volcanologist studying the devastating explosion on the island of Santorini in 1646 B.C., which changed life in the Aegean Sea forever.
Doumas weaves a compelling story about how archaeology has unearthed the ways in which the early Greeks' rapid progress in science, politics, philosophy, sports and art resulted in perhaps the greatest explosion in human advancement ever. Among the greatest gifts from ancient Greece is the powerful concept of democracy itself, which evolved in fifth century Athens.
"Because ancient Greece is where many of our own ideas about democracy, human achievement and freedom were first born, it is more important to us than ever," notes producer and director Greg MacGillivray, a two-time Academy Award-nominated pioneer in large-format filmmaking, whose film "Everest" is the highest-grossing large format film of all time. "Our film is like a form of time travel -- we go back to figure out what happened and why. Audiences will have the chance to explore archaeological ruins, sift through volcanic sands and examine thought-provoking legends for clues to how the Greeks lived and perished. Most of all, I hope the film leaves audiences with a sense of the profound lessons the classical Greeks left behind for today's world."
One of the first stops on the journey is the world-famous island chain of Santorini -- where a thriving Cycladic society was buried in 1646 B.C. by perhaps the most powerful volcanic eruption in known history. Here, the film takes audiences directly into the volcanic phenomenon known as pyroclastic flows, which carried a force equivalent to 40 atomic bombs, burying Santorini under deep layers of magma and ash.
At a bustling excavation site near Akrotiri, the film explores remarkably well-preserved ruins of a Bronze Age Greek civilization hidden beneath volcanic ash. Intriguing riddles also are found on Santorini -- why can't the remains of the Santorini citizens who are said to have died in the explosion be found? And could Santorini actually have been the idyllic island of Atlantis of which the philosopher Plato wrote?
It is in the world-famous port city of Athens that "Greece: Secrets of the Past" makes an even greater leap back into time, taking an unprecedented new look at ancient Greece's most celebrated symbol of wealth, power and democratic ideals -- the Parthenon, the world-famous temple erected in 447 B.C., to honor the goddess of wisdom, Athena. With groundbreaking computer modeling based on in-depth historical research, the film recreates what the Parthenon would have looked like in all its glory. Audiences will get an extraordinary chance to explore the awe-inspiring monument as it has never been seen before -- including a glimpse at the long-lost 42-foot tall ivory and gold statue of Athena that once towered inside its walls.
"Greece: Secrets of the Past" runs through Sunday, Jan. 4. Tickets to "Greece: Secrets of the Past" are $8 for ages 14-59, $7 for ages 2-13 and 60+ and free for children younger than 2. Tickets to the film are just $5 when purchased with a ticket to "A Day in Pompeii," also on exhibition through Jan. 4. Group and member discounts also are available. Visit discoveryplace. org or call 800-935-0553 for show times. Concessions, including popcorn, beverages and candy are available during movie showings.
Discovery Place is located in uptown Charlotte at 301 N. Tryon Street. Convenient parking is available in the science center's parking garage -- the Carol Grotnes Belk Complex -- at the corner of Sixth and Church streets.
For more information about Discovery Place, guests should call (704) 372-6261 or visit discoveryplace.org.
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