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John Shea to Speak at Film Screening September 26

Shea john 1
Shea, John
Professor John Shea

On Monday, September 26, at 7:00 pm, Stony Brook University Anthropology Professor John J. Shea, a recognized expert on stone tools and early humans, will lend an insightful perspective as the guest speaker at the Port Jefferson Documentary Series showing of Werner Herzog’s groundbreaking documentary film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson, sponsored by the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council. The 3-D documentary, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2010, is rated G with a runtime of 95 minutes.

Shea will be introduced by Stony Brook University colleague and world-renowned paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, founder of Stony Brook’s Turkana Basin Institute, who was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Greatest Minds of the 20th Century. Leakey is the author of more than 100 articles and books, and has been credited with some of the most significant fossil discoveries in history including “Turkana Boy,” a nearly complete 1.6-million-year-old skeleton, found near Lake Turkana, Kenya, which belonged to an eight-year-old boy.

Since the 1994 discovery of Chauvet Cave in Southern France, home to the most ancient cave paintings known to man, access has been extremely restricted due to concerns that overexposure, even to human breath, could damage the priceless drawings. Despite tight restrictions and considerable technical challenges, director Werner Herzog gained exclusive access to film inside the cave, which has been sealed and untouched for 30,000 years, capturing in 3D the oldest known pictorial creations of humankind in their astonishing natural setting. Only a small number of researchers have ever seen the art in person.

“He initially resisted shooting in 3D, then embraced the process, and now it’s hard to imagine the film any other way,” according to the director’s Web site. “The 3D format proves essential in communicating the contoured surfaces on which the charcoal figures are drawn. Beyond the walls, Herzog uses 3D to render the cave’s stalagmites like a crystal cathedral and to capture stunning aerial shots of the nearby Pont-d’Arc natural bridge.”

“To call this movie fascinating is akin to calling the Grand Canyon large,” said The Hollywood Reporter. In her April 28, 2011 review, Manohla Dargis of the The New York Times said: “What a gift . . . an inside look at the astonishing Cave of Chauvet—Pont-d’Arc and in 3-D too.  It’s a blast to be inside the cave.”

For more information, visit or call (631) 473-5220. All tickets are $5; Stony Brook University students are admitted free.

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