It's hard to imagine that anyone other than Herzog would have wanted to make a film like Heart of Glass. It returns to the formal and conceptual extremism of his work before Kaspar Hauser: almost the entire cast are performing under hypnosis throughout, and the plot unfolds in increasingly oblique fragments, making it Herzog's most stylised film to date. It's certainly extremely bizarre, but by no means unapproachable. The tale it tells is plainly allegorical: a glass factory declines into bankruptcy when its owner dies without divulging the formula for its special ruby glass, and the village that depended on the factory for employment goes down with it. But one doesn't have much chance to mull over the implications during the film itself: Herzog directs attention squarely at the performances (which are almost agonisingly intense) and at the imagery (which is very beautiful in a German Gothic way). Any film that dares to hover so close to sheer absurdity needs - and deserves - a sympathetic audience.