On May 11, 2021 (after a previous postponement)- about a dozen of our colleagues gathered over Zoom for a light hearted, archives centered discussion of the 2006 film The Da Vinci Code. All in attendance were agreed that, from an archives perspective, The Da Vinci Code is a terrible film. Many pointed out that there were no actual archives or archivists in the movie- which is a huge loss as film does rely on historical artifacts, manuscripts and art works to act as a sort of aesthetic pastiche for its plot.
A few pointed out that the film would be better, from a GLAM perspective, if the plot perhaps centered around a small team of academics setting out on an expedition to find the “Holy Grail” that the film hints at. Rather, The Da Vinci Code frames its plot around what’s essentially a murder mysery in the Louvre. From then on, The Da Vinci Code becomes a self serious thriller with a preposterous plot that revolves around a very hokey conspiracy theory about the secret history of the Catholic Church. In this way, the film is a faithful adaptation of the 2003 novel, which some of our attendees pointed out is similarly campy and weird.
Nonetheless, some of us agreed that The Da Vinci Code did do some good in inspiring real people to become interested in actual history. Another pointed out The Da Vinci Code spawned a whole slew of documentaries that sought not only to debunk the problematic aspects of The Da Vinci Code but also served to paint more accurate pictures of the actual history of Christianity, Feudalism, etc.
By Alex Palma, At-Large Member