Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chauvet Pont d'Arc Cave

Cave of Forgotten Dreams, dir. Werner Herzog, (USA, English, 2010)

Yesterday Ginny & I went to experience Werner Herzog's new 3-D documentary of the Chauvet Pont d'Arc Cave in France's Ardeche region (Rhone-Alpes); sitting front row center in West San Jose's CineArts 6, wearing our polarized glasses, the brightness of the stones of the landscape & the artificially-lit white interiors really did make us feel we were there, except for ambient temperature. It's full of animal drawings that could just as well have been done recently by contemporary figurative-art students. The small audience of less than a dozen couples were all 65+, obviously uninterested in 3-D THOR showing in another part of the cine-complex; it apparently takes advanced age to appreciate the truly prehistoric (32K years.) What I came away thinking was not that the principal artist was 6' tall, but assuming he fondly stroked/slapped the life-sized woman's white thigh after he'd finished drawing her on the stalactite. Was he a member of a tribal guild who began & continued the drawings, who thought: my brother(s), father, uncle(s), grandfather(s) have drawn & re-drawn these buried animals. Did he have any sense of time other than family & season? Isn't that still a part of how we reckon Time? If so, then how humanly distant is 32K years?

This appears, with minor alterations, as "Herzog's 3-D Cave of Prehistoric Dreams" in The [San Francisco] Bay Citizen (www.baycitizen.org) 'Columns & Citizen Blogs' section.

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