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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service

The Chauvet caves in southern France hold the world's oldest art treasures, and Werner Herzog's 3-D documentary, "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" (IFC), is the only way to fully experience their awe-inspiring paintings.

Although rated G, like any other visit to an art museum, it would be better appreciated by mature older adolescents, given its frank discussions of paintings and sculptures of nude women. The 32,000-year-old cave paintings are breathtaking, and snickering would be intrusive.

Herzog doesn't use the 3-D technology just to add novelty and depth to cave features such as stalactites. Almost all the Paleolithic paintings of 13 species, including horses, antelope, bison, lions, birds and rhinoceros, were made on curved rock walls, and when they were created by torchlight, and now illuminated by the flickering lights of the camera crew, were and are meant to give the illusion of depth and motion.

Many of the paintings are so sophisticated in execution that when they were first discovered in 1994—before being quickly sealed off by the French government to protect them—there was much investigation to determine that they weren't modern frauds.

What does the artwork mean? Several authorities offer theories, although since the caves were never used as homes, it's generally assumed that the art holds spiritual meaning. Everyone's tone is appropriately hushed.

The Catholic News Service classification is A-II—adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G—general audiences. All ages admitted.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.





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Joachim and Anne: In the Scriptures, Matthew and Luke furnish a legal family history of Jesus, tracing ancestry to show that Jesus is the culmination of great promises. Not only is his mother’s family neglected, we also know nothing factual about them except that they existed. Even the names <i>Joachim</i> and <i>Anne</i> come from a legendary source written more than a century after Jesus died. 
<p>The heroism and holiness of these people, however, is inferred from the whole family atmosphere around Mary in the Scriptures. Whether we rely on the legends about Mary’s childhood or make guesses from the information in the Bible, we see in her a fulfillment of many generations of prayerful persons, herself steeped in the religious traditions of her people. </p><p>The strong character of Mary in making decisions, her continuous practice of prayer, her devotion to the laws of her faith, her steadiness at moments of crisis, and her devotion to her relatives—all indicate a close-knit, loving family that looked forward to the next generation even while retaining the best of the past. </p><p>Joachim and Anne—whether these are their real names or not—represent that entire quiet series of generations who faithfully perform their duties, practice their faith and establish an atmosphere for the coming of the Messiah, but remain obscure.</p> American Catholic Blog My hope is that my children reach beyond me in character. I don’t want to be their moral ceiling. That makes me responsible to guide and discipline them in directions I don’t always follow. And above all, to show them mercy for their human frailty, as I ask them to show me that same mercy for mine.

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