Cave of Forgotten Dreams, 2010 (Dir. Werner Herzog, 89mins)
Following on from Lorna Macintyre’s exhibition Spolia, CAMPLE LINE is delighted to be screening Werner Herzog’s remarkable 2010 documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which features the extraordinary palaeolithic paintings found on the interior walls of the Caves du Chauvet-Pont d’Arc in southern France. Discovered in 1994 by three French scientists exploring the limestone gorges of the river Ardèche, radiocarbon analyses indicated that charcoal used to make the paintings at Chauvet came from pines that were alive around 32,000 years ago, making them the world’s oldest known paintings. Produced long before the drawings in the caves at Lascaux, a rock-fall had closed off Chauvet’s original entrance, preserving the imagery within in pristine condition.
The French government granted Herzog limited access to the caves, and over a period of four days only – with a small crew – Herzog was able to film the undulating walls of cave chambers and capture the extraordinary beauty and profound mystery of the paintings made upon them. Combining interview footage, including with those who discovered and now manage the cave, with extended sequences revealing the extent and quality of the paintings, the film gives extraordinary insight into what Herzog himself calls ‘the beginnings of the modern human soul.’