"Elias Nebula is practicing Japanese but no one knows."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Asterix Und Der Goths Mit Der Herz Aus Glas Mein Gott Leibchen

I just watched Herzog's Heart of Glass after several months of pronounced dawdling and dithering and evasion (watching Monkees, watching Dog the Bounty Hunter). These Herzog films are forbidding, not in a sense that they will be an intellectual powerball overload, but in the sense that they could conceivably be dull. They almost never are dull, of course (Fata Morgana and Even Dwarfs Started Small notwithstanding); one wonders why the trepidation persists. Maybe it is the humdrum, unwavering nature of the opening German rural settings of his earlier films. The willful, defiant holding of the shot on the static mountaintop or the roiling mists (or the landing aeroplanes) beyond an acceptable point.

Maybe it is the dulness of the flaxen-haired towheaded German peasant in his shit-coloured smock. The image does not draw us in irresistibly.

I wearily work my way through the three Herzog box-sets I bought years ago on Shaftesbury Avenue, like a duty to the god Weltkunstkultur. Like I ploughed through The Monkees Seasons One and Two. Like I strove like a pit-pony through the Alain Delon box set my wife got me for Christmas. It's absurd; wasn't culture meant to be pleasurable?

It is of course a symptom of the times that we are so ADHD that to sit through anything longer than an episode of Justified is considered a travail.

The Delon box-set was on my "Wish List" so it's hardly my wife's fault, but still it felt like a purifying mortification for the deity of KUNSTKINEMA, sitting through these less-well-known Delon vehicles. The Widow Couderc. The Swimming Pool. Simone Signoret at every turn, imploring us with her sad eyes to invest our spirits in the project of Kunstkinema weltschmerz.

Nothing ever equals Delon's fine work in the Melville films, of course. Still these films were okay and I liked them and I did my duty by the Lord and I watched them. I mortified my flesh and I am a better upstanding Christian for it.

And Herz Aus Glas was a good film too. Not particularly dull. It has a beautiful soundtrack, with Swiss yodelling and medieval music; and when I listened to portions of Herzog's commentary track, and I heard his enduring and unfeigned fannish enthusiasm for the soundtrack, my slight vexation at Herzog as a public man evaporated. Herzog was not posturing here --- he was not feeding his self-ego -- his gaping Cthulhu Mythos -- his shrine to himself as his own hearth deity -- his own skull kept in a cabinet in his Hollywood home -- he was speaking as an unabashed enthusiast, and it was good to hear. A bit of sincere humility Christ Sake.

I even felt bad for some of the uncharitable unChristian things I said about him in a previous post.

(The fact remains that his attested ignorance of Nick Broomfield is the arrantest bunk.)

When I was watching this film I thought, of course, in my chronic comparing way, that the film was very similar to the beloved "B.D." Asterix and the Soothsayer (1972).

Heart of Glass was made the year after the German edition of this book (Der Seher) was published (although it appeared in serial form in MV-Comix from 1972 to 1973).

I suppose that M. Herzog will now claim that he has "never heard" of Asterix the Gaul!


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