In 1994 a cave was discovered in southern France containing drawings some 33,000 years old. More than a decade later, with Werner Herzog’s persistent request to the French government, the renowned documentary filmmaker and a skeleton crew of three were allowed access to film Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
Also after much persistence—and plenty of luck, Film Festival Artistic Director Tom Hall said—the team at the Sarasota Film Festival was given last minute access for a one-time showing of the film at this year’s festival. At Friday night’s Opening Night film, Festival President Mark Famiglio announced Cave of Forgotten Dreams, to be shown in 3D, would run on Sunday night. Introducing tonight’s viewing, Hall asked the audience to don their 3D glasses then snapped a cell phone shot of the sold out theater (Hollywood 20’s biggest) for proof of the success of the film that wasn’t even scheduled to play at the Festival until just 48 hours prior.
The film chronicles a surreal trip inside the Chauvet Cave, where in 3D a viewer gets the serene sense they’ve just stepped into Paleolithic man’s eerily-still creative sanctuary. “What exactly took place here, only the paintings could tell us,” Herzog narrates. The creations are the oldest known of humankind. Herzog adds, “Will we ever be able to understand the vision of artists across such an abyss of time?”