Werner Herzog: Lessons of Darkness
Screening Dates
  • September 19 (Sunday) 6:15
  • September 24 (Friday) 8:35
  • September 25 (Saturday) 3:45
  • Today (Sunday) 6:15
New Restoration

One of the strangest narrative films in the history of cinema.”

David Licata, Filmmaker Magazine

Werner Herzog is a filmmaker legendary for daring to go to the extremes, and the ethereal Heart of Glass is a prime example: the director had his cast hypnotized every day in order to achieve a trance-like intensity. The film is set around 1800 in a Bavarian village renowned for the ruby glass” produced by its glassworks. When the factory’s master glassblower dies before passing on the secret to making it, a mad, murderous effort ensues to recreate the lost formula. The film’s tone approaches the apocalyptic as events are observed, and the future augured, by a mystic named Hias (Josef Bierbichler, the one member of the cast not hypnotized). Herzog said his unusual working methods were designed to convey an atmosphere of hallucination, of prophecy, of the visionary and of collective madness.” The influence of Caspar David Friedrich, the 19th-century Romantic painter, is evident in the film’s beautiful compositions. 

Restoration courtesy of Shout! Factory and the American Genre Film Archive

Extremely bizarre, but by no means unapproachable … It’s hard to imagine that anyone other than Herzog would have wanted to make a film like Heart of Glass.”

Tony Rayns, Time Out

Martin Luther said that if he knew the world were ending tomorrow, he would plant a tree. I would start a new film.”

Werner Herzog
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