Pick of the week

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

The Ex­o­dus De­coded Fri­day, 7.30pm, History (611) Ex­cept for what’s left over from Christ­mas lunch, the pickings aren’t great this time of year. Not if, af­ter too much brandy pud, you’re look­ing for some­thing to watch on telly that’s en­ter­tain­ing but won’t chal­lenge the grey mat­ter. The theme here is in tune with the re­li­gious sig­nif­i­cance of the day but could be one for the record but­ton. It cost $US3.5 mil­lion ($4.87m) to make, six years to re­search and three years to film The Ex­o­dus De­coded. Pro­duced and nar­rated by in­ves­tiga­tive re­porter Sim­cha Ja­cobovici, the doc­u­men­tary caused a con­tro­versy when it de­buted in Canada and was then shown at the Jerusalem Film Fes­ti­val in 2006. In it, the Emmy award-win­ning film­maker (1997’s The Plague Mon­keys) chal­lenges the ve­rac­ity of some bi­b­li­cal ex­perts’ as­ser­tions. Ja­cobovici came to the con­clu­sion that the Ex­o­dus occurred in 1500BC, 200 years ear­lier than schol­ars be­lieve; that a vol­canic erup­tion caused the 10 plagues of Egypt and the part­ing of the Red Sea 3500 years ago; that the lost Ark of the Covenant is in the Na­tional Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Mu­seum in Athens; and that the real Mount Si­nai is not the one ven­er­ated to­day on Egypt’s Si­nai Penin­sula but is Gebel Hashem el-Tarif in north­east Si­nai. All highly con­tentious con­clu­sions. He and di­rec­tor James Cameron ( Ti­tanic) make their case.

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