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"They moved and danced in front of these fires"
April 13, 2010 6:05 AM   Subscribe

Werner Herzog's cave art documentary takes 3D into the depths: "Herzog has apparently been given permission to film inside the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave, a site in the Ardèche department of southern France that contains the earliest known cave paintings, dating back at least 30,000 years. Even more intriguingly, Herzog is planning to shoot much of the film in 3D."

The filmed interviews are originally from Roger Ebert's Journal. Ebert's opinion on Herzog's latest project: "There is no documentarian better suited than Herzog to make this film of a sacred place unseen for centuries. He will bring to it awe and poetry."
posted by The Mouthchew (29 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Werner Herzog could create and narrate a documentary about a gang tag on the side of the bodega on the corner and it'd be pretty awesome. Even without 3D.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:13 AM on April 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


Herzog has apparently been given permission to film inside the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave...

They say that now. Wait until someone from the government drops in to check the rushes. "What the... how the hell... is that an actual steamship?"
posted by pracowity at 6:25 AM on April 13, 2010 [12 favorites]


If he gets away with filming there I will eat his shoe.
posted by Senator at 6:26 AM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Chauvet Pont-d'Arc cave art is stunning.
posted by aught at 6:30 AM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ancient cave drawings depict a surprising number of sinister dancing chickens.
posted by Bromius at 6:36 AM on April 13, 2010


Very interesting idea for a film project.
I also found it very interesting Hezog's understanding of how humans see. The whole dominant eye thing and how it pertains to 3D film technology.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:43 AM on April 13, 2010


I thought the Lascaux paintings were the oldest or am I confusing the names ?
posted by infini at 6:45 AM on April 13, 2010


Holy hell, I am so excited about this.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:46 AM on April 13, 2010


more intriguingly, Herzog is planning to shoot much of the film in 3D.

Wierd. This seems more like a marketing gimmick than an artistic choice. I'd think paintings on a wall wouldn't be an ideal 3-D subject... it's not like we're talking about Paleolithic sculpture right? The paingtings are already mostly 2-D.
posted by Jahaza at 6:47 AM on April 13, 2010


The paintings are mostly 2D, but on a rocky, rough surface. Maybe it'll feel more real with the benefit of 3D. Then again, do most indie theaters that are more likely to play this have the hardware for modern 3D?
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:57 AM on April 13, 2010


I'd think paintings on a wall wouldn't be an ideal 3-D subject...

I've read in articles about ancient cave art that the surface of the cavern walls - with its undulations, niches, and other variations in depth and texture - gives the art a quality that's completely lost in the photographs that most people see in coffee table books or on the net. I am guessing capturing this quality is part of what Herzog is going for by filming it in 3D.
posted by aught at 7:00 AM on April 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Fantastic post. The most striking thing about the cave paintings I have seen (although Lascaux is only viewable by the public in a reconstructed cave - the original is no longer open to the public) is what incredible artists these people were. There appears to be a shamanistic purpose to the paintings but the shamans were also amazing artists - I always found it interesting that the talent to paint, the ability to reproduce nature in an abstract form, must have been highly prized by the societies represented by the cave painters as it was those individuals who had this important role shaman in their society. The curvature of the walls gives the appearance of undulating figures; 3D may be able to capture this but I'm not sure that any film can capture the feeling of being in the presence of something 30,000 years old made by a human. I still look forward to seeing this film!
posted by bluesky43 at 7:11 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Finally, a 3D movie I want to see.
posted by box at 7:51 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought the Lascaux paintings were the oldest or am I confusing the names ?

Lascaux has been known for a long time, so people are more familiar with it -- Chauvet was only very recently discovered, and the paintings there are substantially older, it would seem. I'm not intimately familiar with it -- I just read things -- caving journals & such. I have no cites at hand right now, but have no reason to disbelieve Wikipedia on it.

I really, really, really, really, really hope this film happens.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:58 AM on April 13, 2010


Wierd. This seems more like a marketing gimmick than an artistic choice. I'd think paintings on a wall wouldn't be an ideal 3-D subject... it's not like we're talking about Paleolithic sculpture right? The paingtings are already mostly 2-D.
posted by Jahaza at 6:47 AM on April 13 [+] [!]


A huge amount of the impact of these paintings probably comes not just from seeing them on the curved and natuarlly sculpted cave walls, but watching them move and metamorphose in flickering torchlight, an experience I've always craved. I think these paintings were humanity's first attempts at cinema, and I'll bet money that Herzog will explore that idea in this film.
posted by newmoistness at 8:00 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I confused (again)? What we have here are pictures that we have always had via the net
and then the announcement that we may someday soon see 3-D views of what we see now from Herzog. So we have a news item about what we look forward to. Why not wait till we have the actual Herzog stuff available online?
posted by Postroad at 8:22 AM on April 13, 2010


Something inside me dribbled when I saw this FPP.

I have this book and I believe it dates the oldest set of Chauvet drawings to about 12,000 years earlier than Lascaux.

An extra reason that a 3D movie of this will also be great is because the cave is littered with the remains of giant cave bears. Click on the 2nd green dot from the top of this interactive cave map
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:25 AM on April 13, 2010


It was not significant 3D.
posted by ORthey at 8:28 AM on April 13, 2010


I have friends who are currently doing a Werner Herzog movie series, and I can never get up my mojo to go. I'd go for this, though.
posted by immlass at 8:39 AM on April 13, 2010


I love Herzog's docs, but after Bad Lieutenant I want more Herzog + Cage movies so badly.
posted by darkripper at 8:44 AM on April 13, 2010


Any word on a John Klemmer saxophone solo?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:20 AM on April 13, 2010


I've read in articles about ancient cave art that the surface of the cavern walls - with its undulations, niches, and other variations in depth and texture - gives the art a quality that's completely lost in...photographs...

Reason enough to see it, even if it wasn't being filmed and narrated by Herzog.

I'm going to etch Werner Herzog's likeness onto my wall for the benefit of people 30 000 years from now.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:54 AM on April 13, 2010


We toured Lascaux, and that was simply incredible. I cannot wait to see this film. I'll have to try finding a very dark, cold theater with a smell of stone to really replicate what it was like to be there, seeing racing outlines of beasts emerge in a flashlight beam and charge across the cave walls.
posted by bearwife at 10:20 AM on April 13, 2010


Here's a great link for 2D video views of Lascaux.
posted by bearwife at 10:26 AM on April 13, 2010


You just never know with Herzog. In the second segment (I think) he mentions how he loves Fred Astaire dancing with his shadow, and how he wants to show that in the movie somehow. This is right after he's talked about how there'd been fires lined up in the cave for ritualistic purposes, and that people had probably danced and watched their own shadows moving on the wall. I think the jump illustrates Werner Herzog's genius perfectly. Instead of giving a ten-minut philosophical speech about, say, Plato's cave or some shit, he jumps straight to Fred Astaire. Why not.
posted by The Mouthchew at 10:35 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Will it work? We do not know.

I imagine he bilked more than a few packages of two grand from us immobiles in that Rogue Film School of his, who really knows though. If he was serious though..

Anyhow, seems like most are star struck, but to what degree chump, hard to tell.
posted by past at 10:46 AM on April 13, 2010


"They moved and danced in front of these fires"

Amongst other things.
posted by homunculus at 11:19 AM on April 13, 2010


He is so totally gonna get a Cro-Magnon rock to the pants.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:55 PM on April 13, 2010


(It will not be a significant rock.)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:12 PM on April 13, 2010


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