Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies

Saturday night we went to see Cave of Forgotten Dreams. It's a documentary, made by Werner Herzog, about the Chauvet Cave in France, where in 1994 the oldest cave drawings ever discovered were found. The cave drawings were made by pre-historic man about 30,000 years ago.

My husband was surprised when they gave us 3D glasses with our tickets. I had forgotten to tell him it was in 3D. As the scientists and camera crew descended into the cave, it became evident why it was made in 3D. The sense of depth in the cave, and the stalactites and stalagmites all around you as the camera moved were very lifelike.

As the camera takes us deeper into the cave, we begin to see the drawings. Werner Herzog describes the scene, talking about the shadows and the undulating forms of the cave walls.

The drawings are really incredible, and Mr. Herzog and several scientists speculate on the beliefs and perceptions of the human beings who made them. It really is fascinating.

Some of the animals were drawn with multiple legs, suggesting that they were running very fast. Undulations in the cave walls were used to suggest the shapes of the animals' bodies.

One of the artists left his palm print throughout the cave:

I really enjoyed the movie. Werner Herzog can be a bit eccentric, but I don't mind that. At several points in the movie we go outside of the caves to see interviews with some of the archeologists who work at the site. They seem a bit eccentric too, mixing philosophical ruminations with sly little jokes that brought quiet chuckles from the audience. There were some wordless moments in the movie, with shots of the drawings accompanied by quiet music, to allow the audience to just see the images and think about them. Definitely not a "Hollywood" style movie, but very effective, I thought. There was an epilogue that was a bit weird, but I've been told that's typical Werner Herzog.

After the movie, we went next door to Graeter's. If you don't live in Cincinnati you might not know Graeter's. It's really, really good ice cream that is made here. Some people who have moved away have it shipped to them, packed in dry ice. We shared a turtle sundae... yum! The perfect Saturday evening.

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