Cave of Forgotten Dreams


Action / Documentary / History

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 96%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 73%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 13462


Uploaded By: OTTO
Downloaded 80,620 times
October 26, 2011 at 02:03 AM



Werner Herzog as Himself / Narrator
1.50 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 30 min
P/S 5 / 30

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by prizm4 3 / 10

Amazing subject, HORRIBLE documentary

I was so disappointed by this documentary. The subject itself is amazing and I was eagerly looking forward to finding out more about the cave. But this was horrible. There is not much science here or much information about the people that left these paintings. What did they look like? What were their habits? Have similar paintings been found? This documentary should've been half as long given the sparse information provided.

Instead, you get Werner Herzog (the writer/director) talking pretentious dribble about spirits and how the scientists supposedly want to leave the cave after a few hours because they feel they're being watched by the original inhabitants. I highly doubt the scientists said that. At one point he tells all the scientists to stop talking so that we can "listen to the sound of the cave" and "maybe hear our own heartbeats". Yeah Werner, why don't we all hold hands and say a prayer too? Anyway, instead of hearing a couple water droplets (if anything), he instead plays grating violin/cello music on the film for two minutes over the top of images from the cave. So much for listening to the silence. Oh and then he inserts a sound effect of a heartbeat *facepalm*.

Not only that, but Werner Herzog's film direction is awkward and embarrassing for the people he interviews (he does this in his other documentaries as well). You know that awkward moment after everyone has laughed at a joke and there's a lull in the conversation? Or after someone is done talking to the camera, they get this look on their face like "So are you done filming?" - Well Werner makes sure you see those sorts of moments. Or he'll have his subjects just stare at the camera while holding a photo or something. It's extremely unflattering to the people interviewed.

Oh yeah, and he interviews some perfumer (yes, that's right, a guy that makes perfume), and this guy goes around smelling cracks in rocks to see if he can "smell" other parts of the cave. Here I am begging for some genuine science and he's interviewing fruitcakes.

Seriously you will wish NOVA, History, or NatGeo got the rights to film this cave instead. A documentary by those groups would've been far more informative.

The only reason to watch this is to see images of the cave. There are a few amazing crumbs of science in this film (they do talk about a couple artifacts found), but it's like eating a potato chip when you're starving for a full meal.

Reviewed by julsmul 9 / 10

Cave of Forgotten Dreams is Pristine

Werner Herzog's 2010 documentary; Cave of Forgotten Dreams is my second favorite documentary of all I've seen so far, being beaten only by his 2007 documentary, Encounters At The End Of The World. Werner explores Chauvet Cave, a recently discovered cave in Southern France which contains cave paintings, bones, and footprints of men and animals from 32,000 years ago.

Tone is crucial to a film, and Werner does an outstanding job in capturing a very unique tone and maintaining it through the whole documentary. Although the film revolves around archaeology and other scientific studies, its tone brings an air of mysticism that leaves viewers feeling as if they are traveling through time and truly connecting with the many prehistoric painters of the featured mind- bending artwork. In my many viewings with others, this combination has never failed in holding the attention and interest of even those that dislike documentaries.

The music is superb and breathes life into the film's equally superb cinematography. Like the tone, it captivates viewers minds using soft choir, piano, and wind instruments and offers a deeper perspective of Werner's slow-pan shots over the cave art. Much of the film contains long, un-narrated segments of just this camera-work with the music, and while sounding boring, those segments are actually my favorite parts. Of the entire soundtrack, I can recommend "Rockshelter," "Child's Footprint Duo," and "Carbon Date" as my favorites.

The science presented in this documentary is also very interesting. Werner delves into the cave's history with passion, and every aspect, from carbon dating to a prehistoric man's crooked little finger, is thoroughly explored in his analysis. As per Werner's style, the scientists and experts featured in the film also present their inner opinions about the cave and what amazing dreams drive them to continue their work.

If there is gripe I've heard quite often about this film, it's usually the postscript. For many, the ending is confusing, opinionated, and a sudden, jarring change from the rest content. However, I feel that it is because Werner offers his opinions that his documentaries are so enthralling. Werner has a very unique perspective, and, for me, it always provides a new insight into the topic of discussion. The message can be understood with some thought and makes for a very decent concluding thought on the Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

Conclusively, Werner Herzog's documentary is an experience best lived with an open, curious mind. Werner does not make generic documentaries, and his style isn't for everyone; however, with the right perspective, I feel that Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a beautiful piece of art that deserves a deeper look from those who dislike it.

I'm giving it a 9/10. Otherwise, what would I rate Encounters At The End Of The World?

Reviewed by Roman Gronkowski 9 / 10

My thoughts

A film that should touch the human in everybody. Werner Herzog's documentary "Cave of Forgotten dreams" brings images to the world, that have not been seen for over 20,000 years. This masterpiece in film takes us to view the oldest known pictorial works of art in human history some dating back as far as 32,000 years old. The artwork mainly consists of Horses, Lions and Bison of the time. Situated in a France, the "Chauvet caves" where discovered in 1994, up until that time the caves had been sealed completely by a rock fall and its contents locked in time. Herzog guides us poetically through the cave introducing us to the artwork made by humans of the upper Paleolithic era, offering interpretations from himself and eccentric experts. They include an archaeologist, a master perfumer and an anthropologist. Each of them puts in their own ideas and element of madness, coerced out by Herzog's peculiar questions. Often Herzog goes off track in his interviews and asks questions that would not normally spring to mind. This approach to telling the story purifies the concepts Herzog is trying to put across, Ideas of "The beginning of the human soul" and emotions and dreams of the ancient humans. This only magnifies the amazing and quite stunning story of the cave. Throughout the film Herzog perpetually looks for the human in all of his Interviewee's in an attempt to connect them to the human's of the past. I find the greatest achievement of the film is the bridge built by Herzog to the humans of the cave; he somehow restores a link over such an abyss of time that is truly remarkable. His poetic soliloquies require no further comment, only amazement and acknowledgment of the ideas he plants in your brain that grow if you let them. After the film I was left completely stunned at this beautiful delve into an ancient world and somehow I felt a strange empathy towards the humans of the time. The camera work and look of the film is gorgeous although within the cave Herzog is limited in his equipment and allowed only a few LED lights. Yet he manages to play with the shadows and textures of the paintings with light, enriching the visuals and creating movement. He try's to mentally take us to the cave and imagine the artists standing there, admiring their work by the light of fire's, as their paintings flicker, shift and move like real animals. Time and time again throughout the film you are left in state of awe, this film goes above and beyond the requirements of documenting; it reaches the heights of being culturally significant to the human community. An original music score was written for the film, it has a haunting quality. It plays mostly over images of the artwork, complimenting the camera work as the camera moves right as the animals face left. The illusion of movement is created with the lights and the music is appropriately titled "Shadow". This sequence in the film is so deep and raw with emotion, the animals really do appear real, as if in packs and out hunting. Herzog then explores outside the cave, introducing us to a Paleolithic flute made from ivory. A rather enthusiastic and possibly mad "experimental" archaeologist plays "star spangled banner" with the limited notes on the flute. This is yet again Herzog building a relationship between us and these wonderful humans of the past. Is he perhaps implying that 30,000 years ago, a man may have played that tune out of the flute, unaware of what that song would go on to represent? Or did it perhaps mean something then? There are few negatives that can be drawn from the film, and also for Herzog. Perhaps his fabrication of the lives of the ancient humans may be of an annoyance to the less poetically inclined, who want for concrete facts and no creative speculation. I find his style and vision faultless, if facts are what you are after then there are textbooks with them. Herzog provides so much more, that the only negative that can be cast upon him, will simply be a dislike to his film making in general. I will conclude as Herzog did exploring the ideas of humanness. I found this a very touching point to end the film on. His interviewee talks about the ideas that man has to communicate his surroundings, from the animals to the landscapes and humans themselves, there seams to be this urge to paint it, draw it or film it. Suggesting that visuals serve as a far greater articulation of human spirit than forms of oral language. Herzog suggests that this cave was possibly the start of such a communication with the future. A thought I had after the film was, what if the Humans of the cave could view this film, and how would they react to the wonder and amazement to their work? Would Herzog's interviewee's hypotheses come true, that these humans where trying to communicate their world to the future? It is perhaps that, but the real beauty in Herzog's outstanding film is that it will stand as a testament for humans of this civilisation to the humans of the next, it will tell of our fascination with Art, History and our fellow man.

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