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

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

Advertisement
The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

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.