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0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A REALISTIC assessment of the film's Limitations and Successes, 21 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***I don't really think this contains spoilers, but I've listed it that way just in case - hard to tell what people consider to be spoilers for a doco!***

A short review on "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" by Werner Herzog

There are some truly moving moments in this film, the artwork is just impossibly beautiful, and the score is fantastic and varied. While I would recommend it to everyone; it is sadly a bitter sweet production in many ways.

The excessive and illogical limitations on filming equipment (non-professional camera's and lighting), and tiny amount of time allowed to film inside the cave have all conspired to cripple what could have been a masterpiece.

The complete lack of lighting and inability to zoom in to locations not accessible by foot; in particular was profoundly crippling.

There were zones were their time for filming was seriously limited by dangerous levels of co2. Yet, how is it possible no one thought to take small supplemental oxygen tanks so often used by cavers? The quality of the visuals is often so grainy, dark and horrible; that you would be forgiven for thinking you were trying to view a video on someone else's laptop by watching over there shoulder - at just the wrong angle where whites are inverted for blacks etc.

The most interesting and intensely expansive wall of drawings was seen the least and in the worst manner from farthest away. They had not built a protective walkway yet to make it accessible which was just so completely frustrating for the viewer! It's like going to the Louvre and only being allowed to view the paintings from 200 metres away in near darkness, during a snow storm.

Despite the very prominent negative aspects of filming opportunities lost.. it is still incredibly affecting. I will be hunting down a copy of the score as it will forever bring me back to the cave and those impossibly beautiful works of art.

Herzog, his film crew and french scientist companions; unwittingly provide a good dose of unintended levity as perceived by western viewers; upon hearing good natured but partly broken English. Even the translation of their french had a lovable but slightly off feel which was both entertaining and oddly likable.

Someone who watched the film with me commented that it could have easily been half as long; and this is true. By half way through, there was a constant stream of people leaving the cinema one by one every few minutes, in spite of the fact that this was an audience who knew exactly what to expect from Herzog's work.

However, sadly... if the filming equipment and time limitations were not an issue I think it could have easily gone longer.

Perhaps if Herzog had a producer who was as equally engaged with 'the details' of production and viewer expectations - as Herzog was with pathos, mood and human connections - it may have fulfilled all expectations with no bitter notions of witnessing so many missed opportunities.

Despite this, I still highly recommend it to be viewed and further recommended to others. However, it would serve others well to let them know what to expect to avoid disappointment.

Please rate this if you found it useful... I find it frustrating when the default review of a film is just a gushing endorsement that does not really inform people of what to really expect from a film worts and all!

7.5 out of 10 for me.

11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
money, tears, public speaking, but who pulls the strings?, 7 October 2007

As a 25 year old westerner I feel really bad for the sibling-less kids of China post 1979; such an intense, strict and oh so serious upbringing! But it was good to see these kids still know how to have a bit of fun some of the time - alternating between deliberately making people cry - to dancing about like a crazy loon.

After finishing watching this just now, my first thought was "who produced this?" was it the Chinese government trying to show democracy as a bad/flawed idea, or pro-westerners trying to say "yeah man, you DO need democracy now!"....

in the end it doesn't really matter as the film can equally discount or credit either argument.

It is a surprisingly honest and intimate doco; quite cleanly played out (not editorialized). Just like in most elections, the good guy you hope and would really love to see win; gets done over by the political machinations of the more cut=throat dodgier candidate - as is sadly too often the case in real world politics.

Make a bet with whoever you watch this with in the first 20 minutes as to who you think will win, you might be surprised!

This had me from the first minute until the last credits rolled, good film, nuff said.