He brings us the earliest known visions of mankind: the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc cave art of southern France, created more than thirty thousand years ago. By comparison, the famous cave art of Lascaux is roughly half as old. Since Chauvet’s discovery in 1994, access has been extremely restricted due to concerns that overexposure, even to human breath, could damage the priceless drawings. Only a small number of researchers have ever seen the art in person.
Herzog gained extraordinary permission to film the caves using lights that emit no heat. But Herzog being Herzog, this is no simple act of documentation. He initially resisted shooting in 3D, then embraced the process, and now it’s hard to imagine the film any other way. Just as Lascaux left Picasso in awe, the works at Chauvet are breathtaking in their artistry. The 3D format proves essential in communicating the contoured surfaces on which the charcoal figures are drawn. Beyond the walls, Herzog uses 3D to render the cave’s stalagmites like a crystal cathedral and to capture stunning aerial shots of the nearby Pont-d’Arc natural bridge. His probing questions for the cave specialists also plunge deep; for instance: “What constitutes humanness?”
To call "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" a great movie isnt just an understatement, its a wildly inaccurate way to describe an experience that, in its immersive sensory pleasures and climactic journey of discovery, more closely resembles an ecstatic trance. Washington Post
Art history lessons dont get much better: "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" presents the worlds oldest paintings captured by one of films great visionaries. San Francisco Chronicle
The result is a journey to prehistory thats simultaneously wondrous and tedious, profound and completely nuts -- which is to say, quintessential Herzog. NPR
It was the birth of the modern human soul, and cinematic explorer Werner Herzogs fantastic "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" is the delivery-room video. Minneapolis Star Tribune
This film is at times surreal. I remember seeing pictures of prehistoric cave paintings before, but none were this old (30,000 years) or this magnificent. The illusion of motion created by the paintings is amazing. Its an amazing documentary.