In the 1950s, a teenage Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, 48 hour fit of rage, ... See full summary »
German-American Dieter Dengler discusses his service as an American naval pilot in the Vietnam War. Dengler also revisits the sites of his capture and eventual escape from the hands of the Vietcong, recreating many events for the camera.
This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames. In contrast to the common documentary film there are no comments and few interviews. What must have been the hell itself ... See full summary »
A small village is renowned for its "Ruby Glass" glass blowing works. When the foreman of the works dies suddenly without revealing the secret of the Ruby Glass, the town slides into a deep depression, and the owner of the glassworks becomes obssessed with the lost secret. Written by
I have struggled through a good dozen of Herzog's early films and am not too proud to admit that I simply do not get it. Detractors accuse his films of being slow and pretentious (a word I hate). I adore Tarkovsky, Bergman, Antonioni, Kieslowski - all of whom suffer the same slings and arrows from would-be cineastes - but I just can't get into Herzog at all. I certainly enjoyed some his films more than others ; The Enigma of Kasper Hauser, Nosferatu The Vampyre and, in particular, Woyzeck all have their moments for me.
Heart of Glass is best known as the outcome of Herzog's most radical experiment; having most of the cast perform under hypnosis. Accused to this day of gimmickry, Herzog insists that this was done for the sake of "stylisation not manipulation" in order to add a trance-like aura to the characters' increasing insanity. Factoring in the fact that almost everyone in the film was a non-actor, what do you think the outcome was? Let me save you the suspense. The outcome, as far as I'm concerned, was that we get to watch 90 minutes of people in what appears to be a stoned, stupefied coma. This is confounded by the fact that the dialogue - if it can be so called - seems to be written in some trite haiku style. For the most part, nobody talks to anybody else, they simply recite this flowery, contrived poetry at each other. Half the time, the actors are not even looking at each other! At the risk of sounding incredibly shallow, most of the cast could also be contenders for the title of Ugliest Person Alive.
Don't get me wrong, I like a film to be challenging, but there's a line and Herzog not only crossed it, he set fire to it and threw it out the window. There's nothing challenging about an old man in a chair randomly and unconvincingly cackling; or a naked, bald-headed woman holding a goose (yes, a goose) and staring into space; or two half-cooked men slowly pouring beer over each other; or a man sitting perfectly still looking at a hand of playing cards while madness ensues around him. This is considered half-arsed film-making if we're talking about people like Jess Franco, but somehow Herzog gets away with it.
I'd love to sit down and watch this again with someone who likes it so I can ask them to point out what I'm missing.
The most painful thing about this film is that, after 90 minutes of genuine suffering, there is very little payoff. Okay, I get it, Herzog is making a point about faith, despair, hopelessness and the fragility of humanity (the heart of glass). He could have done this just as effectively in ten minutes, this being about the collective total of the film's screen time which I would like to see again, as it contains some lovely cinematography (which has nothing to do with the rest of the film).
This notwithstanding, the only reason I could recommend this film to anybody is for the sheer, baffling pointlessness and stupidity of it. Honesty, you really do have to see it to believe it.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?