Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)

G  |   |  Documentary, History  |  31 August 2011 (France)
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Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of Southern France and captures the oldest known pictorial creations of humanity.



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Credited cast:
Himself / Narrator
Jean Clottes ...
Julien Monney ...
Jean-Michel Geneste ...
Michel Philippe ...
Gilles Tosello ...
Carole Fritz ...
Dominique Baffier ...
Valerie Feruglio ...
Nicholas Conard ...
Maria Malina ...
Wulf Hein ...
Maurice Maurin ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Valerie Milenka Repnau ...


In 1994, a group of scientists discovered a cave in Southern France perfectly preserved for over 20,000 years and containing the earliest known human paintings. Knowing the cultural significance that the Chauvet Cave holds, the French government immediately cut-off all access to it, save a few archaeologists and paleontologists. But documentary filmmaker, Werner Herzog, has been given limited access, and now we get to go inside examining beautiful artwork created by our ancient ancestors around 32,000 years ago. He asks questions to various historians and scientists about what these humans would have been like and trying to build a bridge from the past to the present. Written by napierslogs

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Release Date:

31 August 2011 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Cave of Forgotten Dreams  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$139,101 (USA) (29 April 2011)


$5,234,785 (USA) (19 August 2011)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The tap dance by Fred Astaire with his shadow is from the movie "Swing Time". See more »


Werner Herzog: In a forbidden recess of the cave, there's a footprint of an eight-year-old boy next to the footprint of a wolf. Did a hungry wolf stalk the boy? Or did they walk together as friends? Or were their tracks made thousands of years apart? We'll never know.
See more »


Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.15 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Another top documentary from Herzog!
18 April 2011 | by (belfast,n.ireland) – See all my reviews

Werner Herzog can do no wrong at the moment in my eyes and with this documentary about the Chauvet caves of Southern France, the oldest known artwork on the earth, he is continuing this trend. Filmed mostly on non-professional cameras due to the lack of moving room in the caves, it charts Herzog's limited access to the heavily restricted cave system that was discovered by mountaineers in 1994 and is a fascinating look at the cave drawings that are 30,000 years old. They are a amazing insight into what life was like then for humans as they are quite detailed in the types of animals roaming (lions, woolly rhinos, mammoth and buffalo, remember that this is France!) and the drawings themselves are of amazing quality and have a strange animated feel to them in the way they are drawn. With the restrictions put in place he is quite limited in where he can go and how much time he has but he has managed to capture the feel of the cave well with only torches and fairly basic cameras and i'm sure if saw in 3d as intended (damn my local cinema!), it would make it a even better experience. What the rest of the film entails is Herzog interviewing the many (sometimes unintentionally hilarious) people involved from historians, artists, perfume smeller's and archaeologists and him doing his unique and often brilliantly blunt narrating over all of this. Then comes the albino crocodiles in a artificial tropical enclosure at the end that have some sort of radiation mutation from a close by nuclear generator and you have another amazing film from the main man, Werner Herzog.

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