Werner Herzog makes a documentary of 30,000-year old cave paintings

April 14, 2010

Filmmaker and maverick of the 1970s New German Cinema Werner Herzog told reporters at the 62nd Conference on World Affairs in Boulder, Colorado that he has been granted permission to shoot a 3D documentary film inside the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc cave, reports The Guardian. The cave located in southern France contains the earliest known cave paintings in the world, dating back at least 30,000 years.

The Chauvet cave paintings were only discovered in 1994 and since then have been inaccessible to tourists, as the French government deemed the risk of degradation too high a risk. Herzog’s documentary will therefore grant an important opportunity to view the ancient paintings, which depict lions, panthers, bears, owls, rhinos and hyenas, suggesting a radically different fauna from that of present day France.

“It’s a film that I’d like to make because I’m so fascinated about cave art,” said Herzog in a series of filmed interviews on Roger Ebert’s blog. “It’s still tough to bring equipment down. You are not allowed to touch the wall or the floor or anything. I can have only three people with me, and I can use only lights which must not create temperature. For each shot, because the technology is not really advanced, we had to build our own camera from zero, using a specific configuration of lenses and mirrors. We are doing something nobody has done with 3D.”

Below is a video from Roger Ebert’s blog, where the director discusses in more depth plans for his 3D documentary about the cave paintings.


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