By now, wherever you are in your life, you probably already know whether or not you enjoy the films of Werner Herzog. The famed German director is quite the polorizing auteur; he is anything but subtle, and in my opinion, he is also quite possibly out of his mind. But in a good way.
His latest, The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, is a 3-D documentary exploring the Chauvet Cave in France and its incredible prehistoric paintings. No matter what your typical stance on Herzog films happens to be, this film is worth watching just to get inside this cave, a place only a handful of scientists are allowed to visit about once a year under strict rules. Herzog, fearless as ever, brings a crew of 4 deep inside the cavern to capture paintings that have decorated this dark place for over 30,000 years and were only re-discovered in 1994. Like many Herzog films, this one is also steeped in the meaning he lays on thick with his stark, accented narration.
Herzog draws his typical lofty conclusions, this time about the interconnectedness of the human race and the meaning of art itself. On the lighter side of things, throughout the documentary there are several humorous moments with the wonderfully idiosyncratic cast of characters that make up the scientific team. Even if you ignore the steady drone of narration, the images in the cave, preserved through tens of thousands of years against all odds, remain fascinating, haunting, and illuminating.