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August 8, 2011 | by  | in Film |
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Cave Of Forgotten Dreams

Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams is an effort by the eclectic German filmmaker to immortalize and expound the beauty and value of the oldest known artworks in the world—the wall paintings of the Chauvet Caves. The images are shown in captivating 3D, revealing the contours of the caves as well as the truly stunning illustrations themselves. The subject matter of this documentary is deeply valuable and, personally, I felt like a better human being for having seen a reproduction of the Paleolithic artworks in film.

The major downside is that the whole film is in 3D, including the interviews. This may not sound like a massive deal to some, but there is absolutely nothing more disturbing than watching a tall, pale former circus performer-cum-archeologist explain carbon dating with his arms reaching out to grab you on every emphasis. Herzog, too, is out for lunch for the entire film, his narration feeling like an episode of Time Team on crack. The film’s bizarre tone is consolidated by moments where Herzog tries to blatantly elicit an emotional response in his audience when there really is no need. The most egregious example of this is when he calls for silence in the cave, asserting that we might be able to “hear our heartbeats”. This genius piece of directing was followed by a period of silence which was pierced halfway through by an inserted heartbeat soundtrack; needless to say the entire cinema dissolved in laughter.

Herzog is trying so hard to create a masterpiece that he has forgotten he doesn’t need to; the masterpieces are on the cave walls and speak fluently for themselves. Having said this, the film is an exciting time, as the existence of an “executive producer for creative differences” credit for it suggests. This film is an excellent, historic document and is really worth seeing as the Chauvet caves are almost impossible to view for most of the world’s population; unfortunately, the film itself was far too surreal for me to take at all seriously.

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  1. Rebecca says:

    *Forgotten

  2. LOU DOG says:

    Robbo!

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