Monday, August 8, 2011

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

I saw this amazing film over the weekend - in case you haven't heard of it - I encourage you to go - it's a documentary made by Werner Herzog about the Chauvet cave discovered in 1994 in France by a trio looking for cave spaces - and what a discovery...can you imagine coming across these paintings which had been sealed up for thousands of years?

A rockslide some centuries ago had covered the original entrance and the cavers sensing air currents from below found a small entrance in the rockface. Herzog and his crew were privileged to document this incredible find.  The images are breathtaking - so fresh and alive - but as others have commented it generates as many questions or more questions than answers. Who were these people and why did they leave behind these images - there is no evidence that they lived in the cave - perhaps merely using it for ceremony and spiritual purposes. There are a number of bones in the interior - cave bear and other mammals - the human evidence some hand prints on the walls.

You will be astounded at the artwork - how they position the drawings, the shadings, the suggestion of movement..the sheer beauty. I would in fact suggest that part of the reason the works were created were to please the observer...as they still do. One of the archaeologists in the film says he dreamed of lions for the 4 nights he was in the space - not in a scary way but tangible. Many involved in documenting the discovery say they felt a presence, as if they were being watched. I urge you to go and see this important film - you will be thinking about it for hours and days afterward.
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