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Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)

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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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11 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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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G | See all certifications »

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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 USA:

$139,101, 1 May 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,234,785, 21 August 2011
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

Nicholas Conard: I think what's extremely important is that we realize that archeology today is not a heroic adventure with spades and picks, but high tech scientific work that's done with incredible detail.
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Connections

Referenced in Particle Fever (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Paleo-illogical Parody
21 April 2013 | by See all my reviews

Perhaps this was intended as a Monty Python flavored mocumentary of some particularly pompous and solemn History Channel product. If it is, Werner has succeeded brilliantly. It's hilariously Dickensian in its portrayals of slightly loony characters and in throwing around jumbled theses in response to the Really Big Questions: Who are we? What is art? What is that awful music in the background? Will mutated white alligators some day make mocumentaries about us? Herzog and his cast of zanies play around with these gas-filled profundities, while we wait impatiently for some clear, well-lighted shots of those quietly beautiful sketches by our ancestors or some more earnestly scientific speculation on means, motives,and methods of the ancient artists. Instead we keep getting Gallic stereotypes like the sniffy matron d'cave guide who scolds the crew, reminding them not to step off the gangplank because their stupid boots will tramp out the 10,000 year-old footprints of a cave bear and then pauses to insist (rather too eagerly)that an indecipherable lump of rock shows a minotaur or something molesting the lower part of a woman's...well, you get the picture: the world's oldest cave porn. Then there is the paleo-reenactor who demonstrates the art of operating an atl-atl spear-sling, apparently attempting to fatally impale a grape arbor. Or do you prefer the archivist who shows us his collection of pendulous paleo-Venus carvings. One in particular he seems exceptionally fond of, not enough to marry perhaps, but at some point one expects he's about to say, "Could you all just please leave my lab now? We want to be alone." Eat you heart out Mel Brooks. Don't even get me started on the nice old guy who informs us he was once the Master of All French Perfumers or some such and who now wanders the wilds so he can sniff his way into promising holes in the ground, where he asks others to join him in smelling the essences of our deodorant-innocent ancestors. At one point he seems to get quite confused, staring into the camera as if to ask, "Am I ready for my close up now, Mr. Herzog?" All this is great for evoking chortles, of course, but there is such beauty in these caves (look at the haunting portrayal of the four expressive, individualized horses, for instance)that one wishes a more down-to-earth (pun intended),less artsy director had made a documentary on the subject.


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