After unearthing a tomb that had been untouched for 4,400 years, Egyptian archaeologists attempt to decipher the history of the astonishing find.After unearthing a tomb that had been untouched for 4,400 years, Egyptian archaeologists attempt to decipher the history of the astonishing find.After unearthing a tomb that had been untouched for 4,400 years, Egyptian archaeologists attempt to decipher the history of the astonishing find.
Here's the softening effect. In a documentary about important archeological discovery, we have lush, polished images of the interior of the tomb as if Russell Crowe was about to walk in for a scene. I miss an eye that actually discovers as they did, the awe of having a presence.
It's the same thrill that tickles archeologists the world over as they dig; not just acquiring knowledge of distant mores of life, the way a biologist would, but standing in the middle of tangible things that suggest world, broaden horizon. You'll notice this is a recurring fascination in the film. People really stood here, touched this, played this ancient board game that no one has touched for 4000 years. The mummy laying before us is an actual person from ancient Egypt. It' vividly shows how objects are enlivened by the world they suggest. So it defeats the whole point to give us images with the same feel as the movie version.
And this softening extends in how we come around to discover; we want to find out the 'story' behind this place, archeologists explain to us time and again. There are four burial shafts inside the tomb, and once we dig down to the bottom, we discover ordinary human beings who loved and suffered; an ailing father who probably had to bury his children. Instead I find myself captivated more by the notion of world these people inhabited, which is completely unlike ours today; the complete certainty of living in world that is just a first life that extends into next, a whole life building up to this rocketing of the body in the afterlife.
These are not just decorations on walls, one of the archeologists explains to us. They're 'dreams'. More akin to film than painting, I would add, how we peruse film. Will we ever again be able to be moved to such deep belief as these people? Rather than the overt familiarizing of whether or not someone died from malaria, or did they have lion cubs in Egypt, there's a more interesting one here about how we wave abstract worlds into being.
- Nov 10, 2020