Whovians, historians, scientists, and art lovers all have reason to rejoice regarding the New York and Los Angeles December 19, 2014 theatrical releases of the 3D Peter Capaldi drama documentary "Inside the Mind of Leonardo da Vinci." Film distributor Submarine Deluxe announces that a nationwide rollout of this History Films production will follow these "select cities" showings.
Filmmaker Julian Jones uses more than 6,000 pages of text and etchings from the private journals of da Vinci as source material for breaking the "code" regarding the inner thoughts of this Renaissance man. Capaldi brings the same intensity and quirkiness that he devotes to portraying the 12th Doctor in "Doctor Who" to bringing Da Vinci to life in his narration.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of Capaldi sharing the thoughts of da Vinci regarding the related topics of death and fame perfectly illustrates the outstanding performance of the former and the equally good wit and wisdom of the latter in "Mind."
Jones augments the narration and other first-person source information in the film with historic records related to da Vinci. The latter include accounts of where da Vinci lives throughout his life and a report of an arrest for what the people of the day consider deviant sexual behavior.
The basic format of this beautifully shot film that looks spectacular in Blu-ray is that Capaldi in the persona of da Vinci reads journal entries that relate to either the movements of Capaldi or other images on the screen. Many of the latter are of drawings or other art work of da Vinci. Aside from these works all being incredibly vivid and spectacularly detailed, the camera provides a much closer and clearer view than a museum exhibit or a book.
The format allows learning a great deal about the personal and professional lives of da Vinci and the manners in which they closely intertwine. Although the well-known effort of da Vinci to invent a flying machine is a common theme, "Mind" delves into numerous other subjects that include a terrifically acted out scientific analysis of the Biblical story of Noah and detailed knowledge of the related fields of anatomy and drawing.
A journal account of sexual desire is a perfect example of the aforementioned wry wit that runs throughout the journal entries. The musings on this subject include the observations that the sleeping habits of the physical body and of lust do not always coincide.
This well-painted portrait of one of the greatest minds in history is well worth seeing if only because you will leave the theater feeling a little smarter.
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