Attempting to cash in on a cultural phenomenon in the same way that very bad, low budget films are released after one of the members of the cast becomes a star, The Disinformation Company, aptly named in this instance, has released this Exploring The Da Vinci Code DVD with the more accurate subtitle, Henry Lincoln’s Guide to Rennes-Le- Château. The video was shot in 1999, four years before the release of Dan Brown’s book, which explains why there’s no mention of the international bestseller in the actual film.
A class-action lawsuit for fraud is avoided because there is a connection between Henry Lincoln and The Da Vinci Code. Lincoln is the author of books about mysteries and conspiracies that surround Rennes-le-Château and its most famous inhabitant, Francois-Bérenger Saunière. Most notably he is a co-author of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which was a major influence on Dan Brown. The book states that there is evidence of Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene, the two having children, and that the bloodline continues and is protected by the Priory of Scion.
Lincoln’s co-authors filed suit against Brown for plagiarism, which they lost because, according to High Court Judge Peter Smith, “their argument was vague and shifted course during the trial and was always based on a weak foundation.” In the documentary The Man behind the Da Vinci Code, Lincoln said he wasn’t a party to the suit because the ideas weren’t original to the authors.
Aside from his books and minor claim to fame as a co-writer on three Doctor Who episodes from Patrick Troughton’s reign as the second Doctor, Lincoln has been a tour guide to the village of Rennes-Le-Château and the surrounding area. Being 69 at the time of the shoot, Lincoln had a limited number of tours left in him. The creation of this DVD allows him to reach a much wider audience and to keep the stories alive. The locations are presented in great detail and Lincoln’s presentation reminded me of a fun tourist attraction like the ghost tours of Savannah, Georgia.
Lincoln explains up front that there’s no way to know why things are the way there are, but there are certainly intriguing coincidences that make the viewer wonder, and he presents intriguing questions. Why does a cross have a woman and child rather than Christ crucified? What is the meaning of Saunière cryptic writings and odd architecture? Are there clues in the artwork? Lincoln admits that the details provide “much food for singularly fruitless thought.”
The second hour explores the mountains, the churches and the patterns they form on the landscape. While an interesting geometric shape that couldn’t be coincidence is demonstrated, we have no idea as to why they do exist, so it leaves the viewer curious as to why so much time is spent on it. It turns out that this information was previously presented in a four-part television series by Lincoln called The Secret of the Templars.
The DVD is good for serious devotees of these theories, but fans of The Da Vinci Code might be disappointed that direct connections are not made as the DVD’s title indicates, creating a caveat.