Still baffled, still coming down...
yabbee | Theethertonville | 03/28/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"For once I am (almost) speechless. I just don't know how I feel about this film yet. I am a fan of Herzog, but this exists in its own universe and aside from pacing seems unlike other films of his I have seen. Bear in mind that I only saw this last night and have not viewed it with the commentary yet.I must say that at first I found it almost laughable-- a sort of stereotypical excersize in Germanic avant-garde, cynical, impenetrable arthouse schtick. I thought it would make excellent fodder for a spoof ala Saturday Night Live's "Schprockets" skits. However, I could never once take my eyes from the screen and as it progressed I felt surrounded by the images and characters. As another reviewer said, they disliked the film at first but found later that they were haunted my scenes from the film. It is a lot like that. It is a lot like being hypnotized, which appears to have been an aim of Herzog's. Upon reflection, the only thing that really bothered me about the film is that the Popol Vuh music during some segments seemed out of place. I tend to like it when period pieces retain period music.This is not a movie that many in America would find enjoyable, where there must be explicit sex or a shootout or car chase within the first five minutes for it to be acceptable to the popular palette. But for those oh-so-pretentious "aht" types, this is drool fuel, and for those more reasoned and critical lovers of film and admirers of Herzog, this simply must be seen. Perhaps the most enigmatic film I have ever watched. It is beyond loving it or hating it, thus the 3 stars. The film is here. It exists, and now is lodged in my subconscious forever. I don't know how to feel about that."
At last available on DVD, complete with director commentary!
Marcus Nicholas Niko | 12/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Given Anchor Bay's exhaustive catelogue of Herzog films, superbly engineered and laden with valuable extras, I have been eagerly anticipating the release of "Heart of Glass" on DVD, a film which ranks among the director's most enigmatic and challenging works (and considering Herzog's reputation for weaving eerie stories and for surreal character studies, this is saying alot). Ever since Anchor Bay's glorious widescreen remastered tranfer of Fitzcarraldo, a title which had been out of print for years, this studio's committment to the excellence of their Herzog releases has been truly commendable. I have often criticized the lackluster foreign film releases published by New Yorker, Kino, Fox Lorber, and even Anchor Bay, so I think it is important to pay due respect when a studio releases DVDs of such high and consistent quality. With the pending release of this film, along with the "Enigma of Kaspar Hauser," "Stroszek," and the superp, very rare documentaries "Lessons of Darkness" and "Fata/Morgana," among others, Anchor Bay's exhaustive Herzog catalogue is nearing completion. I must admit that upon the first Herzog DVD release of the director's well-known remake of "Nosferatu," I never anticipated this studio to follow with so many outstanding, widescreen transfers of rare early and later Herzog gems.Next to "Aguirre, the Wrath of God," "Heart of Glass" is probably my favorite Herzog film. Along with the "Enigma of Kaspar Hauser," it is also probably the director's most challenging work. While I am unable to document any connection, the influence of this film on the work of David Lynch seems undeniable. I first saw "Heart of Glass" after the premature demise of "Twin Peaks," and was amazed by the parallels between the two works. The film's quirky characters, eerie locations, and hypontic pacing breathed new life into the world Lynch had created in his television series. Of course, if Twin Peaks was not to your taste, you will probably not like "Heart of Glass," although I by no means wish to conflate the two works. However, do not expect to understand this film after one viewing or even two or three. Besides retelling an old Bavarian legend, this is a picture that confronts its viewer with an entirely new and absorbing world, which would be impossible to fully aprecciate after one sitting. If you ask me, this is precisely the type of film that you will want in your library. In addition, Anchor Bay has complemented its digitally remastered widescreen transfer with audio commentary by Werner Herzog (for whatever reason, Amazon has failed to mention this point in its product description). Although I cannot comment on the quality of the transfer, since the DVD will not be released for at least a couple more weeks, given the overall excellence of past releases of Herzog films, I would highly recommend that you preorder this DVD. I can also add that the widescreen presentation has been enhanced for widecreen televisions. Even if, like me, you do not yet have access to HDTV, you will be grateful for this feature in 10 years. A highly recommended film and DVD release!"
An alienation that you can't escape
alex bushman | Michigan | 04/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's not a veiled secret that the actors in this movie were hypnotized before the camera started rolling. If you didn't know that already then you'd catch it in the commentary. Similarly, the viewer feels hypnotized as well. There is a sense of impending doom that clouds over this film and the audience can feel it. Yet, like the actors the audience can't bear to look away from what is transpiring on the screen. Somehow, Herzog is a master at including beautiful landscape shots in his films and this film is no exception starting out with a great sequence full of nature shots. What comes after that is much more interesting and natural, to me anyway. Herzog also has a way of capturing a fiction that feels documentary to the way the undercurrent of life can sometimes go. His ablility to expose this is one thing that makes him great. This film may seem less essential to the person who loves his commonly held classics like "Aguirre: the wrath of God" "Fitzcarraldo" and "Woyzek," but it still carries the Herzog standard of quality and I find it more interesting than the other films simply because I feel it skims across a more interesting terrain that otherwise wouldn't be exposed."