PRINT April 2011


Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Werner Herzog, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, 2010, color HD video, 95 minutes. Production still. Foreground: Werner Herzog. Photo: Mark Valesella.

WHAT WOULD TRON LOOK LIKE in a carbon-dioxide-filled IMAX theater, with a digitized Jeff Bridges hovering above the steep vertebrae of seats buried in ancient snowfalls of calcified crystal? The question is never asked outright in Werner Herzog’s foray into 3-D moviemaking, Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010). But such petrified futures come to mind the moment viewers put on oversize, battery-powered glasses and then, in the opening scene, find themselves—instead of having to dodge a glowing Frisbee or the flailing limbs of the Kraken—greeted by an idyllic vineyard whose protruding tree branches and chicken wire seem the hoary stuff of nineteenth-century stereoscope cards. (Not too long thereafter, student archaeologist Julien Monney, a former circus juggler and unicyclist—also featured sitting at his computer in living 3-D—attempts to describe the psyche of

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