"Cave of Forgotten Dreams" Documents the Secret Wonders of the Chauvet Cave

One of the few justifiable recent excursions into 3-D, Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams documents a secret wonder of the world, the Chauvet cave — a subterranean gallery of 300 animal images discovered in 1994 in the south of France. Twice as old as the paintings at Lascaux yet amazingly fresh and frankly mind-blowing in their depiction of lions, mammoths, and rhinos, the Chauvet images were made 30,000 years ago, at the dawn of human time. Herzog wangled entrance to this ultraexclusive treasure, off-limits to all but a handful of scientists. He discovers a dreadful future to match the unknowable past: a nearby nuclear facility that has generated a tropical biosphere populated by mutant albino crocodiles. Herzog's 3-D is often masterful in representing the way in which the paintings' shaped surfaces enhance perspective or in revealing how deep space might be defined by light. Would that the director maintained the cave's silence, deep enough to hear your heartbeat. (Not rated)

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