Visions Of Israel (2008/Acorn DVD)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Documentary: B
by Itzhak Perlman, Visions Of Israel
is the latest solid installment of what has turned out to be the best
documentary/travelogue series in years. With
so much history, so many legendary structures, lively new cities like Tel Aviv
and religious sites shared by the big three Semite religions of the world, it
is an engrossing 78 minutes of a place you may hear about in the news all the
time, but never see enough of and in too many cases, have not visited.
On top of
holy sites like the Western Wall and Masada, plus the new structures that have
brought the country into the 21st Century, we get to see the tourism
and then go further out to see the legendary Dead Sea. Those expecting only stories and images that
involve Judaism will be surprised at how key and worldly things really are
there and why this should be shown all the more. As much as New York City or Dubai, Tel Aviv
is as technically advanced and thriving as any great city in the world, but all
you see on the news are military checkpoints and that sells Israel short.
again, the Visions series
successfully shows a locale in its greatest dimension and depth. Yes, there are some installments that I
wanted more and maybe something different from, but Visions Of Israel is as well-rounded as any of them and is yet
another chapter in a growing series I hope goes on for years to come.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image was shot in High Definition video and
like all the volumes in this series, there are some truly beautiful shots
throughout the main program and extras, but it is likely 1080i cameras at work
and you get some motion blur and detail limits in the tradedown here. I would like to see this on Blu-ray to
compare. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is
also good and well recorded, down to the Perlman narration and the addition of
music is never overbearing. Extras
include about a half-hour of extra footage that could have been in the main
feature, but all the programs have done this.