Cave Of Forgotten Dreams

"Essential"

Cave Of Forgotten Dreams Review


What could have been a revealing but relatively dry documentary is given the usual twist by genius filmmaker Herzog, who turns a glimpse of rarely seen prehistoric cave paintings into a bravura 3D exploration of human history.

Discovered in 1994, the Chauvet caves in southern France were sealed by a landslide 20,000 years ago and contain the oldest paintings ever seen. More than 30,000 years old, they depict the wildlife of prehistoric Europe - horses, rhinos, lions, bison - with a remarkable sense of movement. And the caves themselves are pristinely beautiful, with stalactites, stalagmites and a remarkable collection of animal bones. But what was the world like back then, when Europe was under ice and our ancestors lived alongside Neanderthals?

Herzog takes us into the cave with his camera crew, crowded onto narrow walkways and forbidden from touching anything. The 3D high-def images beautifully catch the shapes of the cave walls, on which we see what are essentially 3D paintings. And by playfully moving his light-sources, Herzog creates the dramatic illusion that the images are in motion. We feel like we're watching living artwork, which in a way is what it is. And we also vividly sense the link between ourselves and our pre-history.

In addition, Herzog and his crew travel to other sites to talk to experts and explore the use of paintings and music during the period, with revealing results (expert Hein plays the American national anthem on a prehistoric flute). And through it all, Herzog's deadpan observations continually surprise us with their askance insight. We have no way of even guessing what life was like that long ago, so are we looking back at our ancestors like, say, a radioactive albino alligator looks at us today?

Watching this film is perhaps the closest thing to time travel that we can ever experience. And through Herzog's exclusive access, it's also the only chance we'll ever get to soak up the atmosphere inside Chauvet. With Herzog behind the camera we experience this place and the resonance it conveys with a remarkable clarity. And his deadpan observations are hugely entertaining. In other words, watching this film is probably even more thrilling than clambering into the cave in person.



Cave Of Forgotten Dreams

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 31st August 2011

Box Office USA: $5.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $4.4M

Distributed by: IFC Films

Production compaines: creative differences, History films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 122 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Himself, Dominique Baffier as Herself, Jean Clottes as Himself, Jean-Michel Geneste as Himself

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.