Tras el cristal 1986
1h 50min | Drama, Horror | 5 March 1986 (USA)
In Spain, the former Nazi doctor Klaus tries to commit suicide jumping off the roof of his manor. However, he survives with the entire body paralyzed and dependable of an iron lung with glass sides. His wife Griselda decides to hire a nurse since she does not bear the situation. Klaus asks Griselda to hire Angelo, a mysterious teenager that appears in their house. Angelo befriends Klaus’ daughter Rena and sooner it is shown that Klaus was a pedophile that loved to feel the fear of death in young boys before abusing and killing them. Further, Angelo is a disturbed and totally insane victim of his experiments that intends to follow the insanities described in Klaus’ diary and incorporate his personality.
a superbly beautiful film…that still underachieves…
but I hasten to add, what the director aims to achieve is neigh unattainable.
In the DVD interview, the director says he was inspired by Georges Bataille and that author’s study of Gilles de Rais, the French lord who helped Joan of Arc’s campaigns, apparently with exemplary Christian zeal, and who later in life became the world’s most notorious torturer and killer of children.
Bataille examines human passion with surgical precision. And he doesn’t just analyse: his writings evoke the power chords of ‘love’ that draw their separate ways sinner and saint.
Villaronga’s film falls into ‘horror’ genre mode at key moments in the story’s development. If the director could have depicted his characters’ behaviour with sustained realism, his film would , like Bataille’s work, tell us more about the nature of evil and be indeed a masterpiece of cinema.
As it is, ‘In a Glass Cage’ is most beautifully realised with remarkable actors and isn’t, finally, altogether a ‘horror’ film: there’s enough realism to give us cause for thought.
Director: Agustí Villaronga (as Agustín Villaronga)
Writer: Agustí Villaronga (as Agustín Villaronga)
Stars: Günter Meisner, David Sust, Marisa Paredes