23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
The Good, the Bad and the Quirky,
This review is from: Cave Of Forgotten Dreams [DVD] (DVD)I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and you may too, but I find the almost-universal five-star reviews surprising.
Firstly the Good. Herzog is a quizzical, unhurried guide who takes us right into the experience of actually entering and exploring the cave, just as much as he takes us to the stunning cave art itself. There is an attempt to put the art in some sort of context by interviewing experts who have studied the art or who have deeper experience of the prehistory surrounding it. Herzog's interviewing technique (if it can be called such a thing) is wonderfully unexpected. Having taken us deep into the cave and given us a remarkable sense of the physical environment, Herzog goes back to each panel in careful detail. The final section films these anonymous masterpieces in 3D and in shifting light to give an absolutely uncanny sense of being there. As far as the art itself is concerned, it would be impossible to imagine it better filmed. The glacial pace of the story telling is, in this context, really welcome. You have the opportunity to truly experience and absorb the paintings in a manner that we rarely experience on film.
Now for the Bad! I have already mentioned the glacial pace of the film and I would imagine that some viewers will find it unbearably slow. I find the music dismal when it isn't positively irritating and I turned the sound off so that I could actually enjoy looking at the cave art. I also think that there are numerous missed opportunities to place the art in the context of the lives of our ancestors. Admittedly, we are still dependent on a great deal of speculation but, even so, there is so much more that could have been added. I was also baffled as to why the original discoverers were not interviewed. Why were they searching here? What did they expect to find? Surely their personal account of first entering the cave would have been worth having?
As for the Quirky: I'm a fan of many of Herzog's films but the jokey musing on the future judgments to be made by mutant albino crocodiles(!) added nothing to the experience of seeing the rock art.
So, all in all, as a chance to see the oldest prehistoric cave art ever found; this is as close as you and I are going to get (the cave is heavily protected and will never be opened to the public) and the quality of the filming is breathtaking. However, as a chance to truly understand the context and history of our prehistoric culture, this is a sorely missed opportunity. It's well worth seeing if you're at all interested but there's a much more engaging and informative documentary to be made out of this.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Jul 2012 10:38:12 BDT
Jean-paul Lamb says:
Very detailed, thanks for taking the time. I'm now pre paired for the snails pace but excited about seeing the cave on my 3d tv.
Posted on 25 Feb 2013 13:25:49 GMT
The Constant Gardener says:
Great review, exactly what I felt about the "Good" and the "Bad". I would give it a 4 star though because of it's breathtaking filming
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Nov 2013 12:38:07 GMT
It is filmed as you would expect at a slow pace for viewers to absorb the art and the music is intended to recreate a neolithic atmosphere in a modern context. The art is old and modern and ingrained in us. How many stars you award it depends upon your interest in the subject. It is a true five star film simply because it was made and the person who made it. The cave will be closed to the public forever. Thank goodness.
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