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Cave Of Forgotten Dreams [Blu-ray]
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In 1994, a group of scientists discovered a cave in Southern France perfectly preserved for over 20,000 years and containing the earliest known human paintings. Knowing the cultural significance that the Chauvet Cave holds, the French government immediately cut-off all access to it, save a few archaeologists and paleontologists. But documentary filmmaker, Werner Herzog, has been given limited access, and now we get to go inside examining beautiful artwork created by our ancient ancestors around 32,000 years ago. He asks questions to various historians and scientists about what these humans would have been like and trying to build a bridge from the past to the present.
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Herzog also interviews some of the scientists and cave explorers involved, intercutting the interview footage with shots of the cave walls. We begin to imagine what it was like to live in an ice age among mammoth, rhinoceros, lions and cave bears, and freely roaming horses. The drawings of these creatures in the cave convey an intimate acquaintance with them, and the background information supplied in the earlier part of the film prepares us so that the lingering contemplations of the art later on have their maximum effect, enhanced by slow movement of camera and lights which bring out the subtle details. The result is a hair-raising sense of connection with our Cro-Magnon ancestors.
In addition to his flair for documenting very special places, Werner Herzog also excels at combining them with special music. Here he calls upon Ernst Reijseger, whose mix of improvised cello and wordless choral singing suits the film very well. It's not quite classical, not quite sacred music, not quite avant-garde, but finds a space near enough to all of these to enhance the sense of strangeness and awe which the cave itself inspires. As he did with Grizzly Man, Herzog includes here a "making of" the soundtrack. Other extras or commentary tracks would be superfluous.Read more ›
We see the trouble gone through to seal the cave from the outside environment and the wearing of sterile shoes. However they do not mind the effect of light or of taking scrapings.
There are drawings that date back about 30,000 years. We see them as a small film crew walk through. The lighting and angles are still professional. There is consistent thematic (violocello, organ, piano, and flute) music in the back ground that is not necessarily needed but helps the different parts of the film be coherent.
We get different interviews from professionals related to the cave discoveries. Much of this is speculation on what the creators/artists were thinking. There are more than just pictographs displayed such as skulls of cave bears. We deviate to Paleolithic Venuses to try and show what was happening elsewhere at the time. They also toss in ivory flutes from south western Germany.
There is an epilog about an artificial tropical biosphere created from exhaust water from nuclear reactors as a very loose connection to the original subject of the presentation.
Even though the DVD presentation is in 3-D and 2-D I only watched the 2-D. However I can see how 3-D would render a new dimension to the viewer. The presentation did not distract from a good 2-D presentation.
This production is well worth reviewing to bet a better look at the details overlooked in the first viewing. This is just a 90 minute overview of what can be a fascinating subject.
Most recent customer reviews
The only reason why this isn't a one-star review is because Herzog finally, at the end, gives stunning visuals of the paintings which seem to ripple across the walls. Read morePublished 1 month ago
Impossibilité de visionner un dvd qui n'est pas programmé pour l'Amérique (zone 1).Published 16 months ago by bissonnette jean-pierre
This is a beautiful, thought provoking film about an amazing discovery. However the material is limited and could have been compressed, alternately could have tied into what... Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2012 by Edmond J. Helstab