The Chauvet Cave — that discovery was, like, 1995, and coffee table books appeared about 1999. The Herzog movie was in 2011 or 2010 and when I decided to do the people who painted that cave, it clarified a lot of things. It meant it was south France, it meant it was 32,000 years ago, it meant it was full-on Ice Age, and that the Neanderthals were still alive, some of them at least. It gave me my focus.
I became convinced that they probably were living as comfortably as possible, given the state of their knowledge about medicine and the universe. It became really interesting to think about how they didn't have writing, that this is a crucial technology that actually changes consciousness. Without it they were different from us in terms of how they transmitted their information from one generation to the next. It would become really important to teach master [to] apprentice. It would be really important to memorize things, to have a really talking culture so that their language would be Shakespearean — a very sophisticated talking culture, because they didn't have writing.