Rae Dawn Chong in Quest for Fire
While 10,000 BC was an over-hyped, glamorized, film that simultaneously gave too much credit to primitive humans and, at the same time, not enough, Quest for Fire takes place in 80,000 BC, at a time when there are scattered tribes of humans all at different levels of cultural advancement. These are dirty primitives, they appear parasite-ridden, some are lame, unkempt, and malnourished, as they would appear during such an era.
The film follows the Ulam tribe, which does not yet know how to make fire, and must continually feed their bonfire to keep warm. When another tribe attacks, the Ulam’s fire is extinguished, and three members of the tribe must venture out to find a flame and bring it back. Along the way these cavemen will face sabertooth tigers, mammoths, cannibals, cave bears, and tribes more advanced than their own.
Cavemen Adventurers in Quest for Fire
As all dialogue is spoken in fictional languages without subtitles, we rely entirely on the actors’ actions to convey the social dynamics and primitive minds, and they are truly primitive, grunting and lurching on the screen like our primate descendents. The film is like watching a documentary with a dramatic plot, and it is rewarding watching human culture evolve on the screen as the cavemen learn concepts we take for granted.
So add this one to your netflix, it’s what 10,000 BC should have aspired to, a much more historically accurate film.