The essential metaphor which beats at the heart of glass, is the terrible and frightening fragility of existence. Hias the prophet, sees a future in which not only the village is engulfed in flames, but the world itself, he foresees the raise of nazism and like a good many Herzog productions the echoes of fascism reverberate. This is a village in which the capitalist dictator who owns the glass factory, can enter peoples houses on a whim and take their property, and can almost get away with murder. That murder, insanity and death should hang palpably over this film is no accident; the glass is red for a reason as it represents the very life essence of the village, with the demise of its vital ingredient, so the village slowly dies. Herzog's articulation of this mass breakdown is rendered beautifully, in a way which is quite simply painterly. Whether one considers the hypnotism of many cast members a gimmick or not, the result is perhaps the most accurately displayed example of mass hysteria committed to celluloid. There is an abyss at the centre of the film, which the audience itself finds itself walking into. A sense of somnambulism which emerges out of the screen. Structurally this is a confusing film, jumping all over the place, no regard for time or space - which gives it a dream logic perfect to the content of the film. The forces of creation and destruction are at work in this film and in many ways it is reminiscent of FATA MORGANA. Like the earlier film HEART OF GLASS is challenging and disturbing and in my opinion has the greatest opening 10 minutes in cinema. Wonderfully obtuse, wonderfully mythical - Herzog's finest moment.
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