Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Found German New Wave Hypnotic...Literally

I saw my second Warner Herzog film today at the Visual Arts Center, Heart of Glass, from 1976.

Previously, I had seen Grizzly Man, which was about a really strange character who spent his life tempting fate with bears.

So I knew going in that Herzog is an Oscar-nominated German film director and screenwriter, with a taste for the odd.

Most of the audience today came because it was a Herzog film being shown.

The director's trademark is a large amount of improvised script; in today's movie, it was even odder, because almost all the actors performed under hypnosis.

So imagine zombie-like actors improvising their lines and you get some idea of how weird this film came across.

The setting is an 18th century Bavarian town with a glass-blowing factory that produces a unique ruby-red glass.

Unfortunately for the town, the master glass blower dies and the secret to producing the red glass is lost.

As a result, the town gradually sinks into disorder and a hypnotic sort of way.

I hadn't known that the Visual Arts Center had a Saturday film series and now I do.

As for Herzog, I may need to try another film or two, but I'll make sure I'm in the mood for something strange, since it appears to be a given that that's what Herzog will deliver.

But sometimes nothing but strange will do.

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