03 June 2011

At the Movies: Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D.

Ideally, the movie I'd most like to see in 3D is something like Werckmeister Harmonies. Long takes, sustained tracking shots, not much cutting at all, immersive spaces. Well, Werner Herzog once again leaps ahead of the curve, using 3D technology to map out one of the most fascinating secrets in the world, the Chauvet Cave in France, where undisturbed wall drawings dating back tens of thousands of years represent the first human artistic endeavors still preserved.

Unlike the majority of 3D films currently in theatres, Cave of Forgotten Dreams finds actual physical space way more fascinating than computer-generated vistas or effects sequences (and that's not a slight on 3D tech- I enjoy the added dimension when it's done well). There are moments, drifting along in these deep, enclosed spaces, that one can't help but feel something more than real. It's rare that history can be this visceral without wars or some form of betrayal involved (doesn't that sadly sound like modern life as well), and Herzog, with his magnificent voice, takes us through a meditative look at the human artistic impulse.

Calling this the best use of 3D film technology so far is limiting- Herzog certainly understands the mechanics of how the eye works, using langurous fades rather than abrupt cuts, allowing depth to resolve itself on the viewer's terms. But it seems to me that 3D is best when it comes to realness; I love being immersed in something actual (part of this, I'm sure, springs from my 'puppets>computers' aesthetic). And with all the alien worlds and fntasy spaces that steroptic film presentation has tried to bring us to, I've never been as transported as I was by this film, to a secure little portal into the past.

Also, the fact that 3D film options can include something like this is very encouraging (especially for local audiences). Take a chance and timeslip back into your own genetic history, won't you?

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