Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Werner Herzog
Charles Fathy (voice).
Directors
Werner Herzog.
Screenwriters
Werner Herzog.
Running Time
89 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Honeymoon
3 Star Empire Rating
Last Impresario, The
3 Star Empire Rating
I Origins
4 Star Empire Rating
Soul Boys Of The Western World
4 Star Empire Rating
What We Did On Our Holiday
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Cave Of Forgotten Dreams (3D)
If Werner Herzog directed Sanctum


submit to reddit


Plot
Documentary in which Werner Herzog becomes the first filmmaker to be able to shoot the spectacularly preserved cave drawings of the Chauvet caverns in France.


Review
Cave Of Forgotten Dreams (3D)
High up on an almost inaccessible cliff face in the stunning French Ardèche is a small metal door. As Alice would say, it’s an odd place for a door, but what’s behind it is even more surprising. Probably best described as The Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic art, the interior of the Chauvet cave, named after one of the speleologists who discovered them in 1994, is covered with incredible, shockingly vivid ancient paintings, their miraculous preservation the result of a rockfall tens of thousands of years ago. Recognising both the uniqueness of the paintings and their worrying fragility (similar paintings in other caves have been affected by mould growth, the result of the moisture in human breath), the French government closed the site to anyone but a handful of experts. In the intervening decade-and-a-half more people have been to the summit of Everest than have gazed at the paintings and no filmmaker has been allowed to shoot inside.

And so, with a kind of joyful inevitability, enter Werner Herzog, who finally gained permission to accompany an archaeological team and to film for a limited number of hours inside the caves, reportedly finalising the deal by offering to become an employee of the French government for the salary of one euro. The technical restrictions imposed are daunting: only three crew members including Herzog were allowed in, carrying only lightweight cameras, light panels powered from waist-worn battery packs. So, of course, Herzog decides to shoot in 3D…

What emerges is an astonishing, mesmerising and at times unexpectedly moving film, Herzog making the complexities and difficulties of filming part of the subject, before, in a virtuoso sequence towards the end, conjuring the paintings into life. Using only the movement of a camera and two lights, he produces images more other-worldly and affecting than anything in Inception.

For the most part his use of 3D is among the most appropriate in the format’s otherwise gimmicky history; the drawings that crowd the undulating, uneven walls of the cave spring into complex reliefs, but it’s less appropriate for shaky-cam head-to-head interviews. Herzog’s philosophical musings might be a turn-off to those unfamiliar with them and, while he might be more poet than sage, he does make the provocative point that we moderns can never really know what the images meant. That he makes this profound point via a pair of irradiated albino alligators from a nuclear power station 20 miles down the road, well… that’s just Werner.


Verdict
A typically quixotic documentary in which great unknown artists from 35,000 years ago collaborate with one in 2011. Profound, mysterious and utterly absorbing.


Reviewed by Adam Smith

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Cave Of Forgotten Dreams (3D)
Empire Star Rating

RE: Cave Of Forgotten Dreams (3D)

Director/Screenwriter: Herzog Starring: Herzog Synopsis Filmmaker Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet Cave in Southern France, capturing the oldest known pictorial creations of humankind in their astonishing natural setting. Review Following his critically-acclaimed reimagining of Bad Lieutenant really strange drama My Son, My Son, What Have Ye done?r Herzog returns to his documentary work as he has special permission from the French governme... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 16:35, 06 April 2011 | Report This Post


The 5 stars is for Herzog's earlier work

Herzog frustrates me - i love most of his 70s drama's - Aguirre,Kasper hauser,Heart/glass,strozek,Nosferatu,Fitzcoraldo - but he hasn't made a good drama since 82 - thats almost 30 years ago - his documentary's are good but i wish he would give us good drama for a change - wim wenders is the same the great films just seemed to stop coming - ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 19:40, 02 April 2011 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: The Streaming Services Will Be Major Studios
(Or how Hollywood will have to start worrying about Netflix)

The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)