USA/Great Britain/France
90 minutes

You should learn to expect the unexpected from Werner Herzog - and that includes seeing the famously idiossyncratic German film-maker jumping on the 3D bandwagon for one of his esoteric, thought-provoking documentary essays, closer in spirit and form to later-period pieces like The Wild Blue Yonder or Encounters at the End of the World. Given the opportunity to shoot inside the restricted-access Chauvet cave in France, where the earliest man-made cave paintings were found in 1994, mr. Herzog jumped at it, assuming 3D would be the only way to render vividly the alien singularity of this "time capsule" available exclusively to scientists and researchers and even then only during a limited time period every year.
Mr. Herzog's approach was to mirror the cave's singularity by making the film into a time capsule of its own - a snapshot as awkward and austere as the paintings themselves are, "a frozen flash of a moment in time" to quote the director's narration. Its concern with spirituality and intuition rather than science and fact, underlined by the solemn compositions of frequent collaborator Ernst Reijseger, is typical of mr. Herzog's obliquely wired way of seeing things, enough to make this rather grave exercise (leavened by offbeat touches) more of a treat for the long-suffering hardcore fans of the director than an entry point for newcomers.

Directed, written and narrated by Werner Herzog; produced by Erik Nelson, Adrienne Ciuffo; music by Ernst Reijseger; director of photography (colour, 3D), Peter Zeitlinger; film editors, Joe Bini, Maya Hawke.
A History Films presentation of a Creative Differences Productions production; produced in association with More 4; in partnership with the French Ministry of Culture and Communication; in co-production with ARTE France Cinéma. (US distributor, Sundance Selects. World sales, Visit Films.)
Screened: Berlin Film Festival 2011, official selection (out of competition) advance press screening, Cinemaxx Potsdamer Platz 7 (Berlin), February 13th 2011. 


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