The Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in France has on its walls some of the oldest known cave paintings, some of which may have been made some 30,000 years ago. The cave is heavily protected by the French government and only researchers who have gone through the tedious permit process are allowed inside. Even then their time inside and what they can do and use inside the cave is heavily restricted.
Werner Herzog, who became interested in the caves after reading Judith Thurman’s New Yorker article “First Impressions“, was given permission to film inside the caves by France’s Minister of Culture but was only allowed three other people with him. He brought with him a cinematographer, Peter Zeitlinger, a sound recorder, Eric Spitzer-Marlyn, and an assistant.
What came out of a difficult filming environment is an amazing piece of cinematography that will go down in movie making history. I originally saw the movie in 3D in the theaters and I can honestly say that this is one of the few movies (if not that only one) that you really do need to see it in 3D.
Throughout Cave Of Forgotten Dreams we (the viewers and Herzog who narrates) follow a research crew into the caves and explore the different paintings as well as the environment within, which surely was a living space for early ancestors of man. It is a spectacular movie who’s only detriment is 10 minutes of Herzogian craziness at the end. Just ignore Herzog’s feelings on albino alligators of the future and enjoy a spectacular movie on the most significant relic of early man.