I first saw Werner Herzog’s 3d documentary on a random afternoon in 2011, when in a retrospective it was screened at Cinesesc at downtown São Paulo.  The only thing I can recall from that time was how I left the cinema feeling a profound connection to humanity and history. Seven years later, I had the chance to watch it once again, this time in the Filmoteca of Barcelona. That lasting impression that I first had is still there, but this time I can call for help in Raymond’s Bellour in his saying that “one can rewatch a film in various situations, but only if, first time around, it has been seen and received according to its own aura.”[1]

I still am flabbergasted by the beauty of the images and how Herzog, in my modest opinion, found in the cave one of the unique necessities that really validates the film to be  shot in 3d. The volume of each rock, how the painting embraces each corner, at certain moments I felt that like the film crew, that even though at the distance of a hand was still unable to reach out and touch it. It is a literal personification of Benjamin’s concept of aura (at least the more common sense in which it became known in the artwork essay). First the is the “phenomenon of a distancehowever close it may be.” There is also the whole notion that these painting somehow accumulated the whole experience of humanity while laying there untouched and covered.

The film is one of those rare occasions, where in contemplating what preceded me I could find fragments of my self in the shared history of humanity.

[1] Bellour, R. (2012). The Cinema Spectator: A Special Memory. In G. Koch, V. Pantenburg, & S. Rothöler (Eds.), Screen Dynamics: Mapping the Borders of Cinema. Vienna: Synema Publikationen, p. 15.