Written May 15, 2011
I'm so grateful that the French government gave Herzog permission to film at the Chauvet caves since this movie will be the closest I'll ever get to seeing them. The artwork is amazing and Herzog's mythic approach to it makes for a really provocative view. Most of his interviews added to the layers of meaning, even the French parfumier nuzzling the countryside trying to sniff out undiscovered caves, but I could have done without some of the music which I found incredibly irritating and distracting in places. Overall, it's a very satisfying film and will give you lots to ponder about where we come from and what's at the core of being human.
Written May 11, 2011
This is a 90 minute film which, devoid of its art, presents an interesting summary of not only the cave "art" of an absolutely illiterate culture but also the fascinating effect of striking beautiful mineral accretions that resulted during the time that the subject cave was sealed by landslide some tens of thousands years ago. At the time that the illiterate culture made extremely primitive line drawings on the cave walls, which sometimes considered the topology of the cave as if this were some kind of "three dimensional" effect, it was possible to wander all over what would become modern Europe because of thick glaciers that when melted would fill in the English channel with water. Thus, there was some communication between the primitive illiterate cultures as evidenced by their primitive art. The cave "art" lacks any complexity such as precise human features or studies of anatomy. The film is worthwhile for its 30 minutes of science, never mind the awed participant stares.
Written June 04, 2013
So sorry I missed this documentary in 3D. The contours of the cave walls seem to be essential parts of the paintings. Of course, as the movie turns our theater into a kind of cave, the ancient paintings transcend the flat screen, creating places for our imaginations to fall into. When scientist Jean Clottes notes that a wall can talk or a wall can refuse, he could just as well be talking about movies. While so many movies are about trends, Cave of Forgotten Dreams is about how the past attempts to communicate with the future through art. Because human breath can inadvertently destroy cave paintings, the camera does great work to bring the images to us. In particular, the development of a camera on a pole allows us to study the only human form in all the paintings: a woman who seems to be embraced by a minotaur. That remote image is more question than answer: do we meet in art across centuries or reflect ourselves? Fans of Grizzly Man will find that beast-man intersection again here.
Written May 29, 2011
I will be the first to admit that this film is not for everyone. Many of the audience members may be put to sleep by the pacing. I myself enjoyed most of it, especially the perfumer they engaged to "smell the cave" . The artwork is amazing and the complete opposite of the child like paintings i expected to see. You will never see anything like this in your life so I strongly suggest giving this film a view.
Written May 11, 2011
Good camera works but lots of scene repetition. Those interested in natural history will enjoy this documentary.