Documentary Review : Pompeii Live from the British Museum


The first live cinema event ever produced by the British Museum, offering an exclusive private view of the major exhibition, Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

As the title suggests, this major event was originally broadcast live throughout the UK just a few months ago. Now, at selected cinemas in Australia, including the Tower Cinemas Newcastle, you too can be a part of this groundbreaking event.

On display are items owned by the British Museum, along with many more loaned from museums at Pompeii. Each group of artifacts are presented with expert advise and contributions from historian Mary Beard, Rachel de Thame, Giorgio Locatelli and Bettany Hughes.

The exhibition focuses on the 2 days before that most famous of volcanic eruptions, that of Mount Vesuvius almost 2000 years ago. Interspersed with snippets of film depicting the daily life of the inhabitants of the doomed towns, we are given a deeper understanding of how these people lived…what they ate, how they worked, how they played, even how they enjoyed the more carnal of pleasures.

As a side note, there is an edited version of this documentary especially for school aged children. Once you watch, you will see why….


This documentary is the Time Team on steroids. There are those gorgeously very British experts who are excited and at times a little giddy over say…a jug. Or floor mosaic. Or a statue. Fantastic!

Perhaps the most fascinating thing I discovered was that there was nothing even remotely interesting about Pompeii or Herculaneum. It is suggested that the occupants of Rome would barely be aware of its existence. With populations numbering less than a few thousand, these places were the ancient equivalent of blink and you miss them small country towns. 

I know, right!

Now, I can watch documentaries all day long….. and I have done so when the remote control proved too far out of reach all the way over there on the coffee table. And this stuff is absolute gold. From the wonderful array of items, the small films and the gushing experts to the very animated discussions about how much more of Pompeii they should dig up.

It turns out that only about 1/3 has been excavated to date…… and as they are having trouble enough preserving what they have dug up, the experts seem to agree that leaving the rest to future generations is the wise thing to do. They all agree to this with a tinge of disappointment…. the archeologist in all of them just wants to sit and dig, dig, dig until it’s all done. It made me smile.

So popular has this initial run been, it is back for encore screenings. Please check with your local cinemas for dates and times. Make sure you check this out…….just not with the kiddies 😉


Love Flick xx



I would like to personally thank the extremely rude man who sat mid cinema with his smart phone poised high in the air filming or taking photographs during this documentary. He was, I believe, asked by the young usher to cease and desist but……yep you guessed it, that phone was back out within a few minutes. This was NOT a young person. This was an older man who should have known better. Those annoying ‘ put your phone away ‘ reminders are not screened during movies such as this, presumably because the cinema patrons for this type of event would know better.

Not so …..

I have no idea why he would be filming anyway. Get the pics from the internet! Your SET TO BLINDING HIGH smartphone settings all but ruined my experience. It was completely distracting and you were sitting in the middle of the cinema. There would have been only a few people in the entire place unaffected by your arrogance and contempt. I hope you enjoyed the movie.

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