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Being in the World: Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Climate Series, Being in the World Film Festival

dateOctober 13–16, 2022 locationVirtual Event
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Cultural Services of the French Embassy
  • Columbia Climate School
  • University Institute for Ideas and Imagination
  • Columbia Global Centers | Paris
  • Alliance Program
  • European Institute
  • Knapp Family Foundation
  • Maison Française
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Silhouettes of people illuminated against a cave wall

Virtual film screening

Cave of Forgotten Dreams
by Werner Herzog, 2010

89 minutes, documentary.

Film in French with English subtitles

Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc caves of Southern France and captures some of the oldest known and most well-preserved pictorial creations of early humans, dating back as far as 32,000 years ago. The limestone cave contains a wealth of beautiful images of galloping horses and a ghostly menagerie of bison, cave lions, cave bears, and wooly mammoths. Multiple red palm prints by one of the early artists reappear along the cave walls. The images attest to the admiration and respect these prehistoric humans held for animals and the natural world, and to their worldview described by an archeologist in the film as one with more porous boundaries between the seen and the unseen, and between animal spirits and the human souls who live alongside them. Werner Herzog exercises all his talent here to capture what he calls the “beginnings of the early human soul.” Many of the researchers interviewed seem deeply moved by the cave drawings and the mysterious atmosphere they create, which the film hauntingly conveys to its viewers.

To watch the trailer, please click here.

RSVP HERE to receive a link to view the film online between October 13 and October 16

This screening is part of Being in the World: People and the Planet in French and Francophone Cinema, a film festival curated and presented by Columbia Maison Française, with additional support provided by Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Columbia Climate School, Knapp Family Foundation, Paul LeClerc Centennial Fund, Columbia University Institute for Ideas and Imagination, Columbia Global Centers | Paris, Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, Alliance Program, and European Institute.