Herzog and a skeleton crew travel to the Chauvet Caves in France (Wikipedia it) to take us on an anthropological/archeological wonder tour through the oldest known existing artworks contained within...the paintings are magnificent, and there are even some primitive weapons, sculptures, and instruments to gawk at...I wasn't in the right frame of mind while watching this, so ill have to go back and check it out again,
The mystical and intellectual fascination that such archaeological human footprints generate in us is conveyed by Herzog in this rare opportunity to somehow have a peek at our most remote and primitive cultural past. Herzog methodically explores the cave looking for the soul of those ancient humans who now communicate with us. The limitations of a film like this to channel a full stimulating experience are also felt.
Herzog's approach is interesting because he tries to explore the spritual dimension of the cave and its paintings, using a lot of cross-culture references. Sometimes this aspect is over-emphasized by Ernst Reijseger's music (that I didn't like very much). But the breathtaking way Herzog brings the beautiful paintings to life with changing light and 3D cameras makes up for this detail.
A magnificent documentary with exquisite lighting and ambience given by the soundtrack, a long and detailed look at the cave and a great insight at not just the Chauvet Cave but other paleolithic discoveries. The beautiful symbiosis of the woman's body and the bison was the peak for me, along with the simulation of movement in some of the paintings, that give it a new intensity and meaning
The neural synapses within Herzoq's brain must be totally fucked up.. In a documentary about cave-painting he talks with archaeologists about juggling, shows irrelevant scenes with drone-camera shots, and eventually concludes with a nuclear factory and mutated albino crocodiles.. fuck yeah!!
Herzog envelops you in the idea that this art... has been around... for 30,000 years. Christianity has been around for 2,000. From that perspective, these scratches of horses on cave walls hold profound cultural and spiritual resonance, something proto and primal, that I think validates all of Herzog's funky wanderings into albino crocodiles. It's something beyond him, definitely, to explain, but also way beyond us.