Opening 3 Nov 2011
Director Werner Herzog’s film makes me think there is hope. In 1994 some of the world’s oldest cave paintings and drawings were discovered in Chauvet Pont d’Arc cave in the Ardèche valley in southern France. Herzog, using his amazing technical camera expertise, brings to light a vision of the past: cave paintings which include some 400 murals believed to be 30,000 years old. This remarkable documentary takes us into a world of vast corridors and three-dimensional painting which includes color and remarkable themes, such as animals, and symbols, such as a fertility goddess. It is not open to the public since our breath alone would destroy the paintings. Even scientists have access only according to strict schedules. Herzog often speaks of the limited time he had to make this film and how hard he had to work to capture its beauty. He explores the art form and asks questions dealing with human existence. What could have inspired the artist to make such drawings? This film captures something precious about humanity, and it is a wonder that mankind has made it this far.
I found it a strange coincidence that, while France protects these fragile cave paintings, it has 58 nuclear power plants, three times more than any other nation in Europe and about equal to Japan with 54 plants. The only other country with more nuclear power plants is America with 104. So how many more thousands of years will we manage to go? I think it’s time we rethink our path. How fast do we need to race into the future while risking our lives with all this technology? (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)