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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
Famous as the film where all but one cast member was hypnotized by its director, Heart of Glass is another of Werner Herzog's almost ethereal looks at damaged, alienated (indeed, almost alien) protagonists completely unsuited for the world around them. In this case it's an entire pre-industrial town where the secret of making the ruby glass that the local economy depends on has been lost, and with it the townspeople have lost all will to live and wander around in a somnambulist daze reminiscent of an entire community of Clive Owens: well, a slightly livelier Clive Owen at least, if such a thing can be possibly imagined. Only the local shepherd-cum-prophet is immune from the spell, his real prophecies a mixture of the strikingly pertinent and the truly nonsensical. Naturally, this being Herzog, a chicken does feature briefly, although whether it also is hypnotised is open to debate.
It should be horribly and unwatchably self-indulgent, but the strikingly beautifully photographed tableaux and the weird poetry in its soul turns it into a dreamlike experience you drift through almost benignly despite the darkness, madness, violence and hopeless stupidity on display.
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