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7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP, France


Nurturing the democratic debate.  
06-02-2004 10:30 am On February 11 at 7 pm, at an advance screening of two documentaries about the archaeological site of Pompeii (southern Italy), UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura will present the Picasso Medal to Marc Tessier, President of France Télévisions, and to Tim Muff, Director of BBC Worldwide France, in recognition of these channels’ cultural policies and their action “in support of the production and broadcasting of educational programmes and documentaries for young people and the general public.”

The award ceremony will take place during the presentation at UNESCO Headquarters of two documentaries on Pompeii, an ancient Roman city located on the Bay of Naples and included, with Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata, on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1997. The first of the two programmes, entitled “Pompeii: The Last Day”, is a co-production of the BBC, Discovery Channel and NDR, in association with France 2. Fifty minutes long, the docudrama directed by Ailsa Orr allows us to relive the day of August 24 in the year 79. That day, at about one in the afternoon, Vesuvius erupted and buried the city under tons of ash and lava. The docudrama reconstructs the event based on Pliny the Younger’s description in a letter to the historian Tacitus. The remains of Pompeii were discovered in 1594, but excavation only began in 1748.

The second documentary is entitled “Les mystères de Pompéi”. Forty minutes long, it is coproduced by 17 Juin Média and Transparences Productions. The director Marie-Noëlle Himbert interviews Latin scholars, historians, volcanologists, archeologists and even biologists, who demonstrate the accuracy of Pliny the Younger’s account, which for a long time had not been taken seriously.

UNESCO’s Division of Cultural Heritage and World Heritage Centre contributed to the making of the two documentaries.

Journalists who would like to attend the screening and award ceremony may
request invitations from UNESCO’s Press Service, tel. 01 45 68 17 48

Photo © UNESCO

Source Media advisory No 2004 - 07


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