Thursday, July 28, 2011

Deep History Movie

Speaking of historical movies, the one to see right now may be Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams, about the paintings of the Chauvet cave in France.  The oldest paintings, beautiful renderings of lions and deer and rhinos and much else, are about 30,000 years old, and I've never seen a film that gave such a deep sense of just how long ago that was.  We are about fifteen hundred generations away from the talented, thoughtful, creative humans who made and saw these paintings.

It is also the first film I have seen in which 3-D seemed like something other than a war toy. In seeking interpretations of the art, Herzog leans more to the new-agey than to the hard-science approach favoured by those mandated to maintain and study the Chauvet cave.  No matter.  It's a brilliant feat of filmmaking about time and change and permanence.

Judith Thurman's New Yorker article that helped inspire the film, is avalable here, and she notes some interesting recent scholarship on the subject of prehistoric art.  IMDB's page on the film, with links to trailers, etc, is here.

It's in fairly limited release so far, though per-screen revenues have been impressive where it isshowing. Check, as they say, your local listings
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