Monday, January 30, 2012

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Werner Herzog is a man of eclectic interests. His recent films have explored everything from Antarctica to death row. But as any loyal Herzog fan is aware, subject matter is only of topical concern to the filmmaker. His investigations into the lives of seemingly off-the-map individuals often tap into life’s deeper questions and abstractions; and yet he often remains befuddled by the both the simplicity and the wonderment of existence. Perhaps no place is better suited to Herzog's unpretentious stylings than one within the earth that few eyes have seen. Cave of Forgotten Dreams follows Herzog into a cave in France housing some of the oldest artistic representations in history, preserved for some 30,000 years. Sprawled across its rolling walls are renderings of men and beasts, stories frozen in time. It’s the stuff tailor-made for Herzog’s enlightened narration and trademark tangents. Watching the small team of filmmakers and scientists navigate the caverns is a breathtaking sight, but it is dwarfed by the stirring visions carved onto rock. Despite the limiting filming conditions, Herzog’s camera beautifully maneuvers the cave’s surreal surfaces, from the fossilized bones on the ground to the theater on the walls. These would surely make for compelling interludes in any film. But authored by Herzog, they become encounters with stories and people from a distant life. (Werner Herzog, 2011) ***½

No comments: