Sunday, June 5, 2011

probing the dreams

Even those tired of the 3-D gimmick are likely to be intrigued by Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams. That Herzog hasn't made a 3-D movie prior to this is somewhat startling (I've long maintained that Lessons of Darkness should have been, and at the very least feels like, an IMAX film, for example). The film itself is pleasingly ironic, using advanced filmmaking technology to capture the paintings in the Chauvet Cave, perhaps the earliest iterations of storytelling or documentation.

I'd been put off by Herzog's ponderous narration in recent films, and felt that he was lapsing into self-parody (even in this more reverent film he can't resist a postscript featuring a group of nearby lizards, an obsession previously explored in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans), but I was moved by the man's reserve in the face of the film's subject. Herzog argues compellingly for the sophistication of the paintings in the caves, positing that they are in fact "the dawning of man's soul."

Herzog's trademark irreverence seems to have been saved for promotion of the film, as evidenced below by five wonderful minutes with the (perhaps unsurprisingly) like-minded Stephen Colbert:

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