Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Werner Herzog (2010)

U Certificate


Our Score
After travelling to the Arctic for 2007's Encounters at the End of the World, Werner Herzog continues to document the world of wonder with this fascinating look at the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc caves. In 1994, a trio of speleologists (cavers to you and me) inched their way through a small opening high on a rock face in the French Ardèche and discovered vast caverns filled with stunning Paleolithic art. The site was quickly declared a historic monument and secured, with access only being granted to a few scientists. Herzog is the first film-maker to be allowed inside (he sealed the deal by offering to become an employee of the French government for the salary of one Euro) and has made full, inspiring use of the privilege. Brilliantly employing 3D technology to accentuate the prehistoric artists' use of the undulating cave walls, he reveals this ancient equivalent to the Sistine Chapel in all its incredible, vivid glory. Herzog fans will forgive his familiar impenetrable philosophical musings, particularly since the movie's undoubted highlight is an extended sequence towards the end in which, using the bare minimum of equipment he was allowed to bring into the cavern, he brings the paintings to life using simply shadows, camera movement and Ernst Reijseger's haunting score.


Werner Herzog's documentary explores the Chauvet caves of Southern France, which contain the oldest examples of cave painting yet discovered. The film explores the 32,000-year-old depictions of people and animals and contemplates why humans have always felt a need to document their lives and the world around them.

Cast & Crew

Werner Herzog Werner Herzog
Director Werner Herzog

Other Information

Language: English, German +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Picturehouse EntertainmentAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 25 Mar 2011