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also known as Herz aus Glas

Heart of Glass1976

  • 3.9
After the international successes of AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD and EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF AND GOD AGAINST ALL (aka THE ENIGMA OF KASPER HAUSER), Werner Herzog baffled many admirers with this cryptic parable. An 18th century Bavarian mountain village is famous for its production of "ruby glass" but, when the factory’s master glassblower dies, the secret of creating that special glass is lost and, with it, seemingly the entire town's will to live. As if now subject to a curse the "magical" glass had hitherto protected them from, the populace slowly succumbs to madness and death. The film's otherworldly atmosphere owes a great deal not just to surrealist writer/painter Herbert Achternbusch’s original story, Jorg Schmidt-Reitwin’s gorgeous photography and Popul Vuh's spectral score but to performances that seem "trance-like" for very good reason: Herzog (supposedly) had most of the cast act while under hypnosis. While mostly shot in Bavaria, HEART's often-staggering images also encompass landscapes as far afield as the Irish coast, Alaska and Yellowstone National Park. The result is unquestionably strange but also one of Herzog's most beautiful and mysterious works. - Dennis Harvey

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3 members like this review

If I fully understood the story I would expound on it but it is still a mesmerising film. The lighting in every shot is like it was set by some great Flemish artist. The actors never broke their trance like states. The opening made me believe the seer was some form of fallen angel telling his stories to a deaf populace. The music was spare and never dominated and Medieval in nature.

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Member Reviews (6)

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If I fully understood the story I would expound on it but it is still a mesmerising film. The lighting in every shot is like it was set by some great Flemish artist. The actors never broke their trance like states. The opening made me believe the seer was some form of fallen angel telling his stories to a deaf populace. The music was spare and never dominated and Medieval in nature.

3 members like this review

Werner does existential.

1 member likes this review
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Quite literally hypnotic, Herzog's experimental film is filled with the haze of dreams and magic. This is a cinematic masterpiece. Jorge Schmidt-Reitwein's cinematography is unforgettable.

Werner Herzog. What more can I say?

I know this isn't possible on Fandor, but I recommend watching this film for a second time with Herzog's commentary. It becomes a fascinating documentary in that light.

Still not sure how to feel about Werner Herzog films (have only watched two); they can be absolutely stunning visually in one scene but then super grainy with out-of-place shots in another. Perhaps it's done on purpose...but why? The story was a bit difficult to follow and the dialog overdone at times. With that said the acting was superb, and the characters, distinctly written --all very eccentric but in their own individual ways. Even though it was difficult to follow the story (I lost interest in the main plot about 30 min in) I kept watching simply because of the thought-provoking scenes and unusual characters. I felt that there was a message somewhere but I just couldn't find it.

There are many interpretations for the so called "grainy" shots. I believe that they are intended to appear painterly as if seen through a thin veil. Based on the woven like texture of the grain and the fact that it has no movement of it's own, I believe they may have , in fact, been shot through or overlayed during printing, with some thin fabric. And definitely not out of place. Forget about Hollywood narratives when watching Herzog. You have to look at it as poetry. If you don't you'll always be lost.