Cave of Forgotten Dreams: Herzog 3D Docu

“Cave of Forgotten Dream,” a fascinating 3D follow-up to Werner Herzog’s previous non-fictional works, “Encounters at the End of the Worl”  and “Grizzly Man,” follows the filmmaker’s exclusive expedition into the highly guarded Chauvet Cave in France, site of the most ancient and inaccessible pictorial artwork known to humanity.

This mesmerizing docu, which played at 2010Toronto Film Festival and served as the opening night of the inaugural DOC NYC Fest, will be released theatrically by Sundance Selects on April 29, 2011.

For thousands of years, Chauvet Cave has been completely sealed off by a fallen rock face, its crystal-encrusted interior as large as a football field and strewn with the petrified remains of giant ice age mammals.

In 1994, scientists discovered the caverns, and found hundreds of pristine paintings within, spectacular artwork dating back over 30,000 years (almost twice as old as any previous finds) to a time when Neanderthals still roamed the earth and cave bears, mammoths, and ice age lions were the dominant populations of Europe.

However, since then, only a handful of specialists have stepped foot in the cave, and the true scope of its contents had largely gone unfelt—until Herzog succeeded in gaining access.

Shooting in 3D, Herzog captures the wonder and beauty of one of the most awe-inspiring sites on earth, while narrating in his idiosyncratic, inimitable fashion about its original inhabitants, the birth of art, and the curious people surrounding the caves today.

Herzog uses 3D as a way to reveal the film’s space in all of its magnificent grandeur, a site unlike any you have seen before.

Those familiar with Herzog’s rich body of work should be able to detect some recurrent themes.  Though “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” does not deal with the issues of maddening loneliness and alienation amidst unfamiliar environments, it does demonstrate again his insatiable curiosity, boundless energy, and obsessive tenacity to  record people and places never (or seldom) seen on screen before.

As always, Herzog, who’s one of the most creative and exhilarating artists working today, exerts complete control over his work, which he also produces and writes. “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” like the rest of his films, is deeply personal and thoroughly uncompromising.