Earlier this year I stumbled upon the Athena Label, a label dedicated to documentaries, but with a bit of a twist. They only do the best of the best! The videography is always stunning, and the narrators are all professionals in their field.

I have yet to be disappointed in any Athena release I have seen, and I think I pretty much have watched their entire catalog. Today I received one of their up coming releases, it is not destined to hit the stores till February, but it is a remarkable work. It was because of this event that I decided to write this article. Documentaries may not be for everyone, but there are lots of us that do enjoy them. I checked, there are all available for delivery before Christmas!

Every Picture Tells A Story has world famous art historian Waldemar Januszczak explaining the story behind eight of the worlds best known paintings. I’ll bet you are thinking how boring? Oh, not at all, you can learn much about an artist, his life, and the political climate of the time. Da Vinci’s Mona lisa, Carravaggio’s Boy Bitten By A Lizard, and, the very dark and disturbing The Anatomy Lesson Of Dr Tulp, a Rembrandt masterpiece are just a sampling. You don’t have to be an art guru to love this DVD set.

Brian Sewell’s Grand Tour takes us back to the 1800’s. It was a passage of rite for young English gentleman to finish their education with a year or two of exploring the forbidden delights that Europe offered. This DVD set had me in stitches. Brian Sewell is without doubt an expert in the art and architecture world, he also offers social commentary with a very Oxford English accent.

The Shape Of The World takes us into the world of maps. Oh sure we all have a road map or two in our car, but what about the history of maps, and how they did indeed shape the world. Narrated by Patrick Stewart, he takes us on a wild discovery on just how the world was discovered.

Ancient Lives takes us back to the world of the Egyptian world. One of the world’s foremost archaeologists, John Romer explores the ruins of an ancient village which is just outside Thebes. These were the people that created the amazing tombs, and much of what we see in the finest museums. Ancient Lives also takes us inside the society of these people, we get a unique look at their ways and lifestyles.

Edge Of Existence takes us into the world of Donald MacIntyre as he wanders the globe finding some of the remotest places on Earth that people call home. What I find amazing is how these peoples have learned to adapt to their geographical homes. Donald MacIntyre takes this series to new heights, this is not merely a video made by an outsider, he lives with each group for several weeks.

Just released, and without doubt one of may favorites from Athena is The Christians. With Bamber Gascoigne at the helm, we get to explore the past 2000 years of Christianity. Oh, this is no glossy church financed deal, this is a very raw expose of reality, based on scientific and historical fact.

Christmas may be upon us, but I have been assured that there is still time to get these delivered and be under the tree.

Simon Barrett

Be Sociable, Share!