In a period of transition from an ancient to a modern era, the prophet Hias, who sees future images of the forthcoming end of the world, foretells the people of a forest town in Bavaria of a fire in the glass blowing factory, source of prosperity for the whole town. In reality, work at the factory has been halted because Mühlbeck, who invented the formula for ruby glass, died and took his secret with him to the grave. The factory owner is in despair; convinced that the secret ingredient in the formula is human blood, he kills the maid Ludmilla. Meanwhile, collective hysteria breaks loose in the town, as Hias continues to augur death and destruction. One evening, the glass factory is set ablaze by the owner himself, who is then locked up in a cell where Hias has also been taken, as he is guilty of having predicted the future. —Thessaloniki International Film Festival
One of the most influential filmmakers in New German Cinema and one of the most extreme personalities in film, Werner Herzog quickly gained recognition not only for creating some of the most fantastic narratives in the Film history, but for pushing himself and his crew to absurd and unprecedented lengths, again and again, in order to achieve the effects he demanded. Born Werner Stipetic in Munich on September 5, 1942, Herzog came of age in Sachrang, Bavaria, amid extreme poverty and destitution. After Herzog turned seventeen, a German film producer optioned one of his screenplays, then promptly destroyed the contract when he discovered the author’s age. Circa 1962, 20-year-old Herzog enrolled in the University of Munich as a history and literature student, and produced his first motion picture, the twelve minute Herakles, his second short Game in the Sand, and his third, the pacifist tract The Unprecedented Defense of Fortress Deutschkreuz.In 1963, he established his own production… read more
Because this Flemish-painting-come-to-life was so against the grain of the wired 70s, it struck a resonant and influential chord; it's easy to imagine Lynch, Tarr, von Trier, Korine all over this movie. But although, for me, it never becomes more than the sum of its parts, I did find it fascinating and often very beautiful. It also helps that it has a sense of humor about its own weirdness.
Despite initially enigmatic formalism, there are glimmers of future Herzogion poetics. Yet, what's most amazingly symbolic is the extended shot where glass-makers work glass, tying the polarities of heated air and maluable material; further representing the clouds and earth, liars and thieves, soothsayers and capitalists. To foresee results of labor one must give in to uncertainties behind dreams or future visions.
A look at five varied musical compositions used by Werner Herzog as cues in his movies.
An interview with the director upon the release of The Bad Lieutenant and My Son, My Son.