Werner Herzog explores two of his favorite themes in his stunning new documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams: human obsessions, and the forbidding grandeur of Nature.
Understand, the film itself is not all that exceptional; some crucial factual details apparently don't interest Herzog enough to include them, and we are treated to some of the director's offbeat ruminations that prove more bewildering than profound. However, the subject of the film is stunning, a recently discovered, 30,000-year-old cave buried under a massive rockslide in rural France that contains the earliest known wall paintings made by human hands.
Chauvet Cave, in southern France, is named for one of the three hiker/spelunkers who discovered it in 1994, feeling their way along a rocky hillside for drafts of cold air that would indicate an open space within the rock. Inside, they discovered a multi-chamber cave whose walls were covered with animal drawings; they are now thought to be some 32,000 years old, twice as old as the famous Lascaux Cave paintings discovered in 1940. (Read more)