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.
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I'm not sure Herzog is a good storyteller—a brilliant filmmaker, certainly, good at developing concepts and finding/conjuring sights and sounds that are cosmic and provocative. But a film like Heart of Glass, rich in ideas as it is, suffers a bit from an absence of narrative clarity and momentum. Even if, as conjuring acts go, the hypnosis provides an inspired, beautiful metaphor for a stumbling civilization.
Once I had a love and it was a gas. Eventually I passed out, but not before passing through a series of curious visions and, of course, having my heart broken. This may (or may not) help explain the esteem in which I hold Herz Aus Glas--very considerable, and poorly oxygenated. Along with Kaspar Hauser and Woyzeck, holy fool Herzog scaled his dizziest heights here. Or so it seemed while I was breathing the air there.
Herzog is capable of making great films and terrible films. This is somewhere in between, but it's definitely not one of his best. Some interesting surrealist scenes don't make up for the lack of interest of the whole.