Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Cave of Forgotten DreamsOriginal Title: Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Director: Werner Herzog
USA, France | English
For more than 30,000 years, the world’s most ancient art site was completely sealed by a wall of fallen rock. In 1994, a team of scientists discovered the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc cave in the Ardèche region of southern France and the treasure hidden within: hundreds of spectacular drawings from the age of the Neanderthals depicting at least 13 different species, including horses, cattle, lions, panthers, bears, rhinos and even hyenas.
Since that time, in order to preserve the paintings, few people have been granted access to the cave, leaving the true scope of its wondrous contents not fully understood. Although many filmmakers requested permission to create a feature-length film inside the cave, German director Werner Herzog, celebrated explorer of forbidden landscapes and poetic philosopher, became the first to be granted that permission. During a meeting with Frédéric Mitterrand, the French Minister of Culture, Herzog offered to become an employee of the French government for the sum of one euro and agreed to work within the strict protocol enforced for anyone entering the site.
Herzog’s film takes us inside the cave and reveals the sublime works in all their three-dimensional splendor. To capture them from the narrow metal catwalks that span the cave, he and his longtime collaborator, director of photography Peter Zeitlinger, had to rebuild and design radical adaptations to the available 3-D cameras using specialized equipment from all over the world. This is a breathtaking journey back in time to the place where art began.