Accurate carbon dating suggests that other artists returned to the cave at least 2, years after the first ones arrived and continued the work in the same style. Only two very small sculptures in the cave show human forms. One is a woman, with her sexual organs exaggerated to dramatize her fertility.
The paintings themselves are all of animals, an astonishing variety, providing a bestiary of the valley at the time: mammoths, cave bears, lions, bison, panthers, horses, rhinos. The rhinos have what are surely exaggerated horns, suggesting a desire to emphasize their power. Some of the drawings repeat horns and legs in an obvious attempt to depict movement. In addition to the footprint, there are poignant signs that humans were here.
Near the original entrance, where outside light was still present, many visitors left their palm prints on a wall in red ochre.
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Were these the artists' marks? Calling cards? Why did many leave them? A palm print stands out: One man had a damaged little finger. Further back in the cave, they found another mark with the same finger. His two visits and a child's footprint remain after 30 millennia. The restriction of four small portable light panels works to Herzog's advantage; as they move, they suggest how the flickering torches might have created an illusion of movement in those repeated features.
Werner Herzog’s ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams,’ Filmed in Chauvet Cave - The New York Times
The space was so limited it was impossible for his crew to stay out of many shots, and their shadows dance on the walls, just as the shadows of forgotten ancestors must have danced in the torchlight. Herzog's inspiration is to show us the paintings as the cave's original visitors must have seen them. Even so, the shoot faced a formidable set of restrictions.
Herzog was permitted to work with a crew of only three — he did the lighting himself — and none of the filmmakers could step off the two-foot-wide walkway that runs the length of the cave.
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As a result, he and the three crew members are visible in some of the scenes. Because of concerns about toxic carbon dioxide accumulations and exhalations contributing to mold on the cave walls, a problem that has developed in other caves with Paleolithic art, he was also limited to shooting no more than four hours a day over a six-day period.
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And then there was the challenge of shooting it all in 3-D. Nelson, who had previously worked with Mr.
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But those misgivings vanished once Mr. Herzog stepped inside Chauvet.
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What particularly impressed her, she said, was the way Mr. In person, Mr. Herzog seems extraordinarily earnest about everything he does and speaks with the same odd mixture of flat tone and colorful, dramatic locutions that characterizes the narration of his documentaries.
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For instance, when one of the scientists working in the Chauvet cave notes that he used to work in a circus, Mr. Herzog shows on a wall of the cave.
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Though best known for his feature films, Mr. Herzog has filmed documentaries in prolific numbers. This graduate seminar funded by the Mellon foundation, is framed by three questions:. To answer these questions, the seminar will bring together the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, political science, comparative literature, history, and performance studies to bear on six case studies:.
Over the academic year, we will anchor our interdisciplinary exchange in four crucial and connected thematic threads. Search Search Search this site.