Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (3D)

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Chauvet Cave) is in Southern France. It houses wonderful 32000 year old animal sketches, pristine stalagmites and stalactites, animal bones, cave bear and wolf paw prints, all undisturbed since a rockfall closed the cave some 20000 years ago. Access to the cave is tightly controlled so unless you're a French archaeologist or the German film maker Werner Herzog you'll never get to see the real thing. Viewing the cave on the big screen in 3D seemed like the next best option although I was slightly worried by the fact that the film was written, directed and narrated by Werner Herzog. (I suffered through his Aguirre:Wrath of God at a film society showing a few years back). Foolishly, I thought a documentary about a cave shouldn't go too badly.

Unfortunately, it did go badly. It was too loud (probably not Mr Herzog's fault), the music was discordant, the narration was slow and condescending and there were far too many talking heads. Ricky Gervais or the Monthy Python team could have had a field day with the experts talking in this film, who included an pony-tailed ex-juggler, an aging archaeologist demonstrating throwing a spear to kill a horse without there being a horse, and a younger one clad in reindeer skin playing "The Star Spangled Banner" on a bone flute. Talking heads in 3D seemed a technology overkill. I'm wondering why Werner Herzog got to visit the cave and make a film - why not the French equivalent of the BBC natural history unit?

And what of the cave itself? It was certainly worth seeing. The drawings were lovely and seeing the animal's heads emerging through openings in the rock was charming. However, rather than subject yourself to this very peculiar film I'd recommend getting a book out of the library and admiring the pictures while playing music you actually like.

Anne's rating 2/5,

1 comment:

  1. Andrew9:43 pm

    That is very sound advice!