In 1994, three French explorers uncovered a cave that had been closed off for millennia as the result of an ancient rock slide. As if the beautiful natural wonders of calcite formations and perfectly preserved animals bones of long extinct creatures weren’t enough…this particular cavern in the limestone, Chauvet Cave, was also home to the oldest prehistoric cave paintings ever discovered. Scientists estimate some of the paintings date back over 30,000 years to a time when most of France was covered by an ice sheet and man roamed the harsh terrain along with Neanderthals, wooly mammoths and rhinos, horses, cave bears and lions. As unforgiving and calamitous as their environment may have been, these early humans still found time to dream and create art that would survive 30,000 years of unstoppable forward momentum.
This is the focus of Werner Herzog’s gloriously transfixing and typically odd little film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
If you are a fan of Herzog, his particularly lucid and sometimes loony narration will be an absolute delight. Herzog has always been drawn to the misfit and extremist dreamer – people so dedicated to their vision or project that their madness can just as easily bring about their demise as it can a resounding success. Continue reading