Recently I viewed the documentary “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” Filmmaker Werner Herzog and a small film crew were given a rare chance to film inside France’s Chauvet Cave. The walls in this cave are covered with the world’s oldest surviving cave paintings. In order to preserve the site, people are only allowed to enter the site for two weeks a year.
I enjoyed this documentary immensely. And if you have a chance to see it, I highly recommend it. This documentary is an extraordinary glimpse into the past.
Chauvet cave was discovered in December 1994. The cave is home to some of the earliest known (Approximately 32,000 to 30,000 B.C.) and best preserved cave paintings in the world. This cave also has fossilized remains, foot and animal prints, and markings from a variety of animals. Some of which are now extinct.
There were a couple of things in the documentary that really stood out to me. At one point, one of the scientists interviewed by Herzog pointed out that they had found a child’s footprint and next to it was a print of a wolf. The scientists did not know the chronological order of the prints. Maybe the wolf print was first? Maybe the child’s? Maybe the wolf was stalking the child and followed him into the cave? Maybe the wolf was a pet and walked with the child side by side? Some discoveries created more questions than they answered.
One of the artists of the drawings could be identified by a crooked finger. And others by their style and technique. We do not know their names. Only that the pieces they created are beautiful and speak of another time.
What I liked about Werner Herzog’s approach was that the discussions with scientists and art scholars centered around the idea that the artwork of the Chauvet cave represents humanity’s earliest dreams.
After viewing this documentary, I began to think about dreams that I had set aside in the caves of my soul. Some are sealed off and left alone, not to be re-examined. Others I have left a trail and may explore again some day. And others…. I am actively adding to the images on the wall. What dreams have you hidden away in the caverns of your heart? Which dreams would you like to fulfill? So many of us have our own “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.”