Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the Mona Lisa Myth is a feature-length docu-drama that offers a new interpretation of the Mona Lisa portrait within da Vincis late oeuvre. The film posits that the raging controversy about the portrait, based on conflicting reports from the 16th century, are resolved by the discovery that Leonardo painted not one, but two versions of the Mona Lisa.
Story: Leonardo arrives in Florence in 1503 after a humiliating eviction from the court of Milan and an unsuccessful stint as military engineer to Cesare Borgia. He is penniless and shunned by the city, given that he has left two major commissions in Florence unfinished. Machiavelli comes to his rescue. He introduces him to Francesco del Giocondo, a wealthy silk merchant with extensive contacts in the Florentine government, in the hope that Leonardo may win the contract to paint the Battle of Anghiari in the Palazzo della Signoria. But Giocondo exacts a price for his political support: he wants Leonardo to paint a portrait of his wife. Leonardo reluctantly agrees.
But when Lisa sits for Leonardo, he is deeply affected by her poise and beauty. Lisa has just given birth, and is of the same age as when Leonardos own mother, Caterina, gave birth to him. Nevertheless, Leonardo is soon absorbed in the challenges of the Anghiari fresco, and the portrait is unfinished. When, four years later, Leonardo seeks to leave Florence for Milan, he once again lobbies for Giocondos support. He delivers the Mona Lisa painting to assuage his patron, even though the portrait is still unfinished just as the 16th century author Vasari has always claimed.
Several years later, after his groundbreaking anatomical studies of women, Leonardo decides to return to the theme. He uses his sketches of Lisa del Giocondo to paint a second versionnot as a portrait of La Gioconda, but as an allegorical representation of the mystery of motherhood.
Production: The film features the top Leonardo scholars of today, including Prof. Nesselarth (Vatican Museums), Dr. John Asmus (UCSD), Giuseppe Pallanti and Stanley Feldman, among others. The film includes extensive dramatizations, shot on location around Florence, featuring Alessandro Demcenko as Leonardo and Rafaela Perra as Lisa del Giocondo.
Source: The film is based on the book The Mona Lisa Myth, written by Dr. Jean-Pierre Isbouts and Dr. Christopher Brown of Brown Discoveries, LLC.
Producers: The film is produced by Pantheon Studios, a 20-year production company based in Santa Monica, with production credits for Castle Rock Entertainment, Disney, ABC, NBC, History Channel, Hallmark, and Public Television. See www.pantheonTV.com. Executive producers: Dr. Christopher Brown and Peter Miller.
Writer/Director: Jean-Pierre Isbouts, whose credits include Voyage Through the Bible, narrated by Charlton Heston; Walt: the Man Behind the Myth, narrated by Dick van Dyke; and Van Gogh Revisited, starring Leonard Nimoy.
• Running length: 84 minutes.
• Language: English, with segments in Italian and French. Subtitles in Mandarin and Korean.