Friday, August 05, 2011

Light In The Dark: Herzog Underground

"These fragments I have shored against my ruins" - T.S. Eliot, "The Waste Land"
There's an old adage - it's not the artist, but the spirit that moves through the artist who creates. Werner Herzog's latest film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, explores the invisible hand at work in the magnificent Chauvet Cave rock paintings recently discovered in southern France. Painted over 25,000 years ago, the paintings are fragments pointing to a larger whole - our own collective being. As Herzog asks, "Is this their heartbeat or ours?"

Herzog was given unprecedented access to the cave, but was only allowed to bring a crew of four including himself. His choice to use 3D was ingenious - not only is it trendy, but it brings the texture of the paintings alive as if they'd just been freshly baked.

One scientist believes the people who painted the rocks didn't recognize any boundaries between the spiritual and conscious worlds or between creatures like bisons or humans. As Herzog says, they also weren't trapped within history and enjoyed more freedom of thought than us so-called "moderns". Once again, Herzog tackles the impossible and dresses it in rare and provocative attire - another great film by the maestro.

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