December 1, 2023

Cave of Forgotten Dreams is Werner Herzog’s awe-inspiring look at prehistoric cave drawings and the philosophical thoughts they inspire. Stream it on 123Movies for free!

Avenues of expression, art and music, are traits unique to Homo sapiens. Prehistoric times saw the first flowering of art, separating our species from now-extinct branches of the human tree. Remnants of that early blossoming are still being found in the form of small statues, rudimentary flutes, and cave drawings. One such series of cave located in France, the Chauvet cave, is the subject of Werner Herzog’s most recent documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

Ancient Cave Paintings

The paintings, the oldest of which are estimated to be 32,000 years old, are among the earliest known drawings in the world. They were added to the walls over a very long period of time, some 5,000 years in some cases. The representations are a menagerie of animals known to live today as well as a number of extinct creatures.

Refined Cave Paintings

The drawings are anything but crude or primitive; rather they exhibit an astonishing level of refined skill. The artists even incorporated the contours of the cave in their paintings to create the illusion of movement. The experts Herzog interviewed in Cave of Forgotten Dreams believe fire may have been used to cast shadows on the walls to bring a modicum of life to those drawn animals.

Dancing with Shadows

Such inferences inspire Herzog to do more than just document the remarkable drawings on the walls; he finds his inner philosopher. Herzog compares the ancient shadow play with Fred Astair’s dance with his shadows in the 1936 film Swing Time. Herzog’s comparison serves to connect the work of those anonymous artists with everyone who enjoys art and other forms of expression today.

Plato’s Cave Allegory

Beyond Herzog’s comparison, it is impossible not to also think of Plato’s famous allegory of the Cave in The Republic. These cave drawing may have been mere representations of an unknown society, but they also make that society real, and they make our modern civilization real.

Viewing these drawings while contemplating art and life all takes place in a 3D format. It is a necessity to gain the full experience of being in these breathtaking caves, the format necessary to bring these ancient drawings to life. 3D is a finishing touch on this film, making Cave of Forgotten Dreams an unforgettable experience. Every human who has ever been moved by a work of art or took the time to contemplate their soul should make a point to see this documentary as Herzog intends, in full 3D glory.

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