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John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
Aaron Bady
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Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

Event Archive

cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Herzog’s Cave of Prattle and Banshee Muzak

Posted by Bill Benzon on 05/10/11 at 04:17 AM

This is not good. Having watched Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams with some friends, I decided to write a review. And so, as is my habit, I checked out some other reviews, just to calibrate my own impressions (and those of my friends). Right off the bat, three Big Name Reviewers – David Edelstein of New York Magazine, Andrew O’Hehir of Salon, and Manohla Dargis of The New York Times – are saying this is a good film, albeit with flaws.

Well, everything has flaws, and this is not a good film. As my friend and Big Name Cartoonist Nina Paley said on her Facebook wall: Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”: an excellent subject ruined by mediocre film-making and even worse gratuitous 3-D. I didn’t find the 3D so bothersome as she did – it made her head hurt – so I’ll back off on that part of her comment just a bit.

But only just a bit. All too often I found myself thinking “Wow! so this is that new-fangled 3D” when I’d have prefered to be left in peace to dwell on: “Wow! a rhinoceros,” or “Wow! four horses, look there’s two lions, fight! fight!” or “Wow! all those hand prints way deep in the cave” or “Wow! the glistening stalagmites and stalactites, the glistening crystalline surfaces.” Instead it was the 3D, the banshee New Agey music, and Herzog’s prattling commentary.

Yo, Dude! Anyone sophisticated enough to want to see a film about these paintings in the cave of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc is sophisticated enough to think their own thoughts about the mysteries and enigmas. They don’t need you to tell them what to think and how to feel. So back off.

Alas, it’s too late for that. He’s made the film and fluffed out 60 minutes worth of material to 95 minutes. If the subject interests you, and you don’t mind paying a premium price (17 freakin’ dollars in NYC) to wear the high-tech 3D glasses, you might want to see the film. But your interest would better be served by putting that money toward a nice book of photographs of the cave. You might even find a book with intelligent and non-obtrusive commentary.


3D is a curse.

By Shelley on 05/10/11 at 11:40 AM | Permanent link to this comment

Bill - Thought you might appreciate my mention of your piece here: http://blog.uvm.edu/aivakhiv/2011/06/10/herzogs-cave/

By Adrian on 06/11/11 at 10:45 AM | Permanent link to this comment

Thanks, Adrian.

By Bill Benzon on 06/11/11 at 11:00 AM | Permanent link to this comment

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