Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Cave of Forgotten Dreams


Werner Herzog’s (Grizzly ManAguirre Wrath of God) new documentary on the Cave of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc in Southern France – limestone caves that contain 30,000 year-old paintings, first discovered in 1994.... More

"Here, amid gleaming stalactites and stalagmites and a carpet of animal bones, beautiful images of horses gallop on walls alongside bison and a ghostly menagerie of cave lions, cave bears and woolly mammoths. The cave was discovered in December 1994 by three French cavers… The French government soon took custody of the cave, and ordinary visitors were barred to protect it, as Mr Herzog explains in his distinctive voice-over, from the kind of damage done to other prehistoric caverns. Being not remotely ordinary, he persuaded the government to allow him and a tiny crew to join the researchers who visit the cave to plumb its secrets… Herzog is an agreeable, sometimes characteristically funny guide, whether showing you the paintings or talking with the men and women who study them." (NZ International Film Festival 2011)Hide

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Flicks Review

Picture a chalky cliff-face looming over a river in the south of France. Halfway up, past slipshod rocks and scraggly bracken, is a sealed vault. Once in a blue moon, scientists and officials will enter this steel door for a short time to chart the mysteries within. We no longer have to imagine what they have encountered, thanks to filmmaker Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man) and the express permission of the French government.... More

In three dimensions, Herzog has given us our one chance at seeing the oldest paintings in existence, first discovered in 1994 but dating back over 30,000 years. Granted, the 3D effect is not entirely convincing, but it’s the only way to come close to experiencing the dimensions and atmosphere of these caves for ourselves.

Herzog’s film is not a dry exhibition of prehistoric art, but instead sets the mind in motion – who painted these works, why, and – most importantly – how do we interpret them tens of thousands of years after their creation? The filmmaker veers from scientific-based fact to existential theorising. From a prehistory nut flaunting fur clothes and a handmade flute, to a pack of albino alligators, Herzog connects the dots in intriguing ways.

Whilst the conjecture and speculation about the back-story of these paintings is fascinating, it’s the window to the world of our distant ancestors that provides weight. Much like the mysteries of existence itself – abstract, bizarre, and fascinating – these forgotten dreams are incredible.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 2 ratings, 2 reviews
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BY Gerd superstar

Ok for the diehard documentary buffs but for the rest of us so boring that we can hear our own heart beat.

This is an amazing documentary that stirred my imagination. It doesn't offer to many answers, I think because there aren't any - it presents the mystery that the cave drawings hold. What were we humans thinking 35,000 years ago, and how do these drawings represent that? Recommended for anyone with even a passing interesting in history or art.

The Press Reviews

96% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • These images are breathtaking — unlike anything you’ve seen before or will see again Full Review

  • After the millionth lingering shot of a cave wall, you may be less enthused, but this is still a worthwhile trip. Full Review

  • There are moments when the helmer's enthusiasm, though always welcome, seems at odds with the mood of transcendent wonder he's trying to conjure. Full Review

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