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Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3D

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« on: February 18, 2011, 10:42:05 pm »

Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3D

Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3D
Thursday, February 17, 2011  |  News

Werner Herzog gained exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of southern France, capturing the oldest known pictorial creations of humankind in their natural setting. He puts 3-D technology to a profound use, taking us back in time over 30,000 years.

Werner Herzog has previously created unforgettable films, from the ship dragged over the mountain in Fitzcarraldo to the Antarctic landscape in Encounters at the End of the World. Now 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.

Still from the film

Chauvet Cave is an exceptional site located near Vallon-Pont-d’Arc in the Ardèche region of southern France, its chance discovery by a trio of speleologists in 1994 revealed not only the fossilized remains of many animals, including some that are now extinct, but one of the most extensive Palaeolithic rock art galleries ever recorded.

Access has been extremely restricted due to concerns that over exposure, even to human breath, could damage the priceless charcoal drawings. Only a small number of researchers have ever seen the art in person.

Herzog gained permission to film the caves using lights that emit no heat. This is no simple act of documentation though. 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 breath-taking in their artistry and beauty. The 3D format proves essential in communicating the contoured surfaces on which the charcoal figures are drawn.

    the works at Chauvet are breath-taking in their artistry and beauty

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.

Within the film we are able to explore the great question “What constitutes humanness?”

The critics have been united in their praise, with Roger Ebert (who wrote the  essay entitled “Why I hate 3-D (and you should too“), going so far as to say “he could only be reconciled to the format by a film-maker like Herzog.”

A Los Angeles Times journalist commented “judging from the portions of the film I saw, he has offered us a ringside seat to gaze upon the beginning of man’s exploration of art. He has even made a great case for 3-D, since if there were ever a movie that encouraged us to let our fantasies run free, it would be Cave of Forgotten Dreams.”

On release from 25 March, 2011.

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