SXSW Review: Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
Werner Herzog made a documentary about the Chauvet cave, where the earliest cave paintings ever discovered have been preserved like the cavemen drew them yesterday. Cave of Forgotten Dreams sure is pretty, but man, it’s soooo boring.
It’s a History documentary so it’s educational and informative, and has no personality and just lingers on scientific information. 3D or not, the crystallized rock looks beautiful, but as a screensaver, not a movie.
The film explains how any scientists at all are allowed in the cave. There’s a sterile chamber where you put on sterile boots and gear so that you don’t contaminate the caves. They’ve put in a metal walkway and you have to stick to that so you don’t get your modern day grease on the stones.
Herzog narrates and it’s kind of funny that he’s so seriously enunciating in accented English, but that won’t carry you through 90 minutes. He is still crazy Werner Herzog, interviewing scientists and asking about caveman dreams. One of the scientists is a former circus performer too. He also wants the explorers to be silent in the caves and listen to their own heartbeats.
The scientists create a story of the caveman. They notice a handprint with a distinct finger so they know it’s the same caveman. Analyzing the paintings reveals that some overlapping drawings were made 5000 years apart, so that’s how long these cultures were making their art.
I know, I know, it’s art. I’m supposed to broaden my mind outside the confines of mainstream narratives. Look, I’ve watched Herzog drag a ship across a country in real time. You’d just have to be a geology buff to care at all about empty caves.