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pop and crackle early on, but the ambient sound following the main titles is more appreciably quiet. In his audio commentary with Norman Hill, Herzog compli- ments the quality of the English translation more than once and also points out a couple of case where translation is elusive. It should be mentioned that the com- mentary once again dates from an earlier release and therefore is be- hind the times in terms of its dis- cussion of its star Bruno S., a man of similar background to Kaspar who has since died in 2010 at the age of 78 and whose sur- name—suppressed throughout his lifetime to discourage intru- sions into his privacy—is now known to have been Schleinstein. The BFI disc also includes a stills gallery and trailer, and pairs the feature with LAND OF SI- LENCE AND DARKNESS and the documentary featurette “How Much Wood Would A Woodchuck


Josef Bierbichler as the shepherd who becomes a seer of harrowing prophecies.


Chuck?” (46m 16s) which, despite its title, is an investigation into the high-speed-spoken world of cattle auctioneering. The short could have been more meaningfully paired with STROSZEK, which features a scene in which the protagonist’s home is sold out from under him by just such an auctioneer.


HEART OF GLASS 1976, 94m 3s (S!F), 94m 3s (BFI)


Notorious as the film Herzog made with nearly the entire cast acting under hypnosis, HEART OF GLASS is one of his most unique achievements: a macabre fable, a rambling extemporaneous poem, an opera without arias, a rare attempt within the framework of a sound picture to channel the aes- thetics of silent cinema—and thus a forerunner of sorts to Herzog’s NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE. Unfolding as though underwater, the story takes place in an unspecified past, in a remote Bavar- ian village whose glassworks factory is renowned for its Ruby Glass. When the foreman Muhlbeck dies, his secret formula for the glass’ uniquely rubes- cent color perishes with him, threatening the village with financial ruin and throwing the locals into tur- moil, dementia and madness. The only local un- touched by these mental demons is Hias (Josef Bierbichler, the only cast member not hypnotized),


a shepherd whose livelihood is not dependent upon the factory, but whose life in the wild has given rise to his own touch of madness, which under present conditions is perceived by the others as a gift of prophecy. His predictions start out by anticipating that, with the fall of civilization, there will be a re- verting to the time of legends and the return of gi- ants. Gradually, as an entire tapestry of life unravels from the removal of this single element, we see this joyous community darken in spirit, pondering if the secret ingredient might have been human blood, with the factory owner contemplating somehow dyeing an entire river red. It builds to one of the most powerful scenes in Herzog’s filmography, as Hias offers his Nostradamus-like forecast of the remote future: “...then the little one starts a war and the big one across the ocean extinguishes it. Then you won’t get a loaf for two hundred lorins. Then a strict master comes, who takes people’s shirts and their skins with them. After the War, you think there’ll be peace, but there won’t be...” Photographed—like most of the films included in these sets—by Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein, who took a note from Vilmos Zsigmond on McCABE AND MRS. MILLER by shooting the film through a nylon stocking, HEART OF GLASS has an uncanny air of distance, like a memory dissipating as ink fades on aged parchment. Curiously, it was filmed not


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