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Monday, April 18, 2011

Quick Bites: Caves, Dudes and Trons

Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Now in limited release

Herzog takes us underground to a rarely seen trove of Paleolithic cave paintings discovered by speleologists Jan-Marie Chauvet and his team in 1994 in the Archeche region of Southern France near the Pont-d ‘Arch, a magnificent naturally occurring grand archway over the river.  Ever the celebrated subversive, Herzog applies his signature treatment to one of man’s greatest and least-seen accomplishments with the giddy notion to capture perhaps mankind’s oldest artistic expression in 3-D.  Dated from between 30,000 and 33,000 years ago (thought that range is not entirely agreed upon by the scientific community at large), these charcoal and pigment drawings depict over one hundred different animals of the time, over a dozen different species including wholly rhinos, horses, and a glorious pride of lions.  Perhaps the most intriguing drawings are not the surprisingly skillful realistic representation of these animals but the field of red dots on one wall that welcomes the visitor and a collection of hand prints in negative.  There are claims that much of the art was executed by a single individual while some occurred thousands of years apart. Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a marvel, a disorienting intimate walk with Herzog and a cast of odd scientist, one being a former circus performer.  He even manages to stick in a few reptiles and his narration is as sullen, whimsical, ironic and brutally German as usual.  My love for Herzog only grew during this screening and yet my head, upon which my own glasses rested awkwardly behind 3-D glasses, started to really hurt after the first 30 minutes.  There were many times when I just wanted to turn off the 3-D and I look forward to viewing it again at home without the ballyhoo of our currently poor excuse for 3-D technology.