Director Werner Herzog and crew in Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

Director Werner Herzog and crew in Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

Friends of the Cinema season starts with documentary

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“To call Cave of Forgotten Dreams a great movie isn’t just an understatement, it’s a wildly inaccurate way to describe an experience that, in its immersive sensory pleasures and climactic journey of discovery, more closely resembles an ecstatic trance.”

Those words, by Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday, are typical of the critical raves being lavished on the opening movie of the 2011-2012 Friends of the Cinema season, which runs Sept. 19. Cave of Forgotten Dreams is the latest creation by Werner Herzog, considered by many to be one of the world’s great filmmakers.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams was filmed in the Chauvet Cave in France, a treasure trove that holds paintings made 30,000 years ago, more than twice as old as any other known art work. Discovered in the 1990s, access is strictly limited by the French government in order to conserve the atmosphere that has helped preserve the images.

Herzog and a small crew were allowed into the cave last year, for only a couple of hours each day for a week.

“He emerged with a breathtaking tour of art that, in its formal sophistication, dynamism and rhythmic lines, looks as bold and new as Cezanne’s work must have looked in the 1860s,” Hornaday wrote. “Illuminating the cave’s walls with low, battery-powered lights, using 3D to capture the interior’s curved corners and biomorphic bulges, Herzog allows viewers to marvel at how prehistoric artists used those natural shapes to animate their drawings, giving the bison, lions and mammoths they drew the movement of Eadweard Muybridge’s horses.”

Cave of Forgotten Dreams will be presented at the Tivoli Theatre on Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or can be purchased as part of a season ticket package — $70 for an $80 value. A combo pack is still available from Black Bear Books that allows culture vultures to enjoy all eight Friends of the Cinema movies and five Creston Concert Society presentations for only $150. Concert society season tickets are $95.