Search - Persepolis: Re-Discovering the Ancient Persian Capital of Modern Day Iran on DVD

Persepolis: Re-Discovering the Ancient Persian Capital of Modern Day Iran
Persepolis Re-Discovering the Ancient Persian Capital of Modern Day Iran
Actor: Gotz Balonier
Director: Gotz Balonier
Genres: Educational, Documentary
NR     2009     1hr 0min

It was probably the greatest construction project of antiquity: in 520 B.C. King Darius I of the Achaemenids had a forty-acre terrace piled up at the foot of the Kuh-e-Rahmat the Mount of Mercy in the central Persian plate...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Gotz Balonier
Director: Gotz Balonier
Genres: Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Educational, History
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 02/24/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The Rise, Fall, and Rediscovery of Persepolis, Capital of a
Serge J. Van Steenkiste | Atlanta, GA | 03/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Filmmaker Gotz Balonier and his team spend most of their time exploring the ruins of Persepolis which was a stunning metropolis under the reign of its founder, Darius I of the Achaemenid dynasty, and his successors. To their credit, Balonier and his collaborators succeed in highlighting some of the key features of the Persian Empire that help their audience better understand the context surrounding the foundation and extension of Persepolis. The Persian Empire, the world's only superpower for two centuries, stood out among other things for the efficiency of its organization and management, its religious and cultural tolerance, and to some extent, its rule of law. Modern day Iranians can look back with both pride and humility at the exploits of their ancestors.

The DVD under review greatly benefits from the computer-generated rebuilding of Persepolis under the direction of architects Wolfgang Gambke and Kourosh Afhami. This stunning animation program is of great help to "reconstruct" the layout and the landmarks of Persepolis that the soldiers of Alexander the Great destroyed in 330 BCE for reasons that are not totally clear to this day. Persepolis still has many secrets to reveal, despite the fact that its scientific restoration started in 1931 CE.

Viewers can use "Persepolis Rediscovering the Lost Capital of the Persian Empire" for planning a future journey to Persepolis or reminiscing about their visit to the ancient imperial capital. Nothing, not even this excellent DVD, can replace the sensorial experience that I gained while I was meandering among the ruins of Persepolis. As a side note, "Engineering an Empire" by The History Channel and "Secrets of Archaeology" by Koch Vision each contains a segment about the Persians and Persepolis.
Limited digital reconstruction
Diotima | Western Australia | 05/20/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)

This is a German production. The voice-over and the interviews with the German architect, an Iranian archaeologist, a Tehran museum curator and picnickers at Persepolis are dubbed into English.

The DVD was obviously made with the full cooperation of the Iranian government as the "Research Department for Cultural Heritage & Tourism Org", the "Ministry of Cultural & Islamic Guidance", the Ministry of Foreign Affairs", the "Panha Helicopter Org" and "Iran Air" are credited at the end of the DVD.

Although promoted as a digital reconstruction of the Persepolis site, the DVD includes extensive footage of other matters such as the Behistun inscription of Darius I, the Ishtar Gateway from Babylon as reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, the Susa archaeological site and wall reliefs, and the history of deciphering cuneiform inscriptions. In other words, the DVD is padded with material more relevant to "The Persian Empire" than "Persepolis".

The digital reconstructions of Persepolis are few and far between. The internal views of the palace of Darius and the terrace of the Apadana are nicely detailed but the external views of the buildings are rather bland. There are no digital reconstructions of the whole site nor any plans to locate the various buildings on the site.

The aerial shots and ground level panoramic views are the best part of the DVD as they allow the viewer to relate the site to the surrounding plain and nearby hills. This just about obviates a visit to the site in person.

The DVD is little more than a tourist teaser. Better to invest in a good book like "The Persian Empire" aka "The Persians" by J. M. Cook."
Good, but left me wanting more history
D. J. Nardi | Washington, DC | 12/05/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The ruins depicted in Persepolis are quite simply amazing. This DVD has excellent quality footage, making you feel like you're getting a good glimpse of the Persian Empire's capital. The ruins are as stunning as any I've seen in Rome or Greece. I also appreciated the many digital reconstructions of the city, which show what it probably looked like 2,500 years ago (it was quite colorful). I was a bit disappointed that the DVD didn't go int other history of the Persian Empire in greater depth. Like most Westerners, my knowledge of ancient Persia is limited and from the Greek perspective, although I have read Tom Holland's Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West. It would have been useful for the film to spend a good 10 minutes talking about the history of the Persian Empire, its leaders, etc. Instead, it spent a bit too much time talking about the importance of the Persian calendar system."