EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|HEART OF GLASS (HERZ AUS GLAS) (director/writer: Werner Herzog; screenwriter: Herbert Achternbusch; cinematographer: Jorg Schmidt-Reitwein; editor: Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus; music: Popol Vuh and Studio der fruhen Music; cast: Josef Bierbichler (Hias), Stefan Güttler (Huttenbesitzer), Clemens Scheiitz (Adalbert), Sonja Skiba (Ludmilla); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Werner Herzog; New Yorker Films Release; 1976-West Germany-in German with English subtitles)|
this intense documentary, Herzog had his actors perform under hypnosis."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Eccentric German filmmaker Werner Herzog ("The Enigma of
Kaspar Hauser"/"Grizzly Man"/"The
Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans") is known for going to any lengths to make
a film. In this intense documentary, Herzog had his actors perform under hypnosis
(except for Josef
Bierbichler). The hermetic stylized film veers between being hypnotic and
soporific. It's set in a 19th-century isolated Bavarian village. There
a mystic nomad shepherd (Josef
Bierbichler) dies without
revealing the lost secret
formula for a precious ruby glass. The seer has predicted man's greed
will bring on world wars, the destruction of his village and the coming
of the industrial era. The
uncaring materialistic village glass factory owner (Stefan
Güttler) is obsessed with
finding the seer's formula and will kill his maid (Sonja Skiba) to find the secret in her
When the glass factory owner, a decadent aristocrat, dies without revealing the secret formula, the village that depended on the now burned down factory for employment has lost what made it special and suffers great economic consequences. The villagers try any means to learn the secret formula, hoping to regain their lost art and sense of pride.
The elusive absurd allegorical pic conveys a dreamlike atmosphere of
vision, of hallucination, of prophecy, of going through life as if
sleepwalking through it, of materialism and of collective madness. It's
beautifully shot, with stunning images, and has such ear-ringing
dialogue as one character saying "Rats will bite your earlobes." If you're
in the mood for a one-of-a-kind film that is haunting but obscure, that
demands intellectual analysis, then this Herzog film should give the
thinking viewer much to chew on that might or not be in the pic--such
as a Nostradamus-like prophesy
of the end of the world.
The experimental apocalyptic film was co-scripted by Herzog and Herbert Achternbusch ((The Last Hole"),
a writer-director-producer-actor in his own right, and remains an
intriguing romanticized enigma that will appeal to only a limited
audience of Herzog freaks and those with a fondness for films that have
a heart made of glass.
REVIEWED ON 2/16/2011 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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