Tras el cristal [In a Glass Cage] (1986)

Tras el cristal
Director: Agustí Villaronga
Writer: Agustí Villaronga
Cast: David Sust, Günter Meisner, Gisèle Echevarría, Marisa Paredes

After a suicide attempt Nazi doctor in hiding Klaus (Günter Meisner) is paralyzed and dependent upon an iron lung. His wife Griselda (Marisa Paredes) wants to hire a nurse when teenager Angelo (David Sust) shows up and offers his services. After blackmailing Klaus into into insisting on hiring him, Angelo completely takes over the household and uses Klaus’ dependence for his own purposes.

Tras el cristal is a fucked up film with fucked up people in it – and that’s exactly the film’s point. One that it conveys effectively and in a tense atmosphere. I was enthralled the entire time.


At the very beginning I thought that I knew where the film was going and my predictions kinda came true but in many ways, the film headed in directions I never anticipated. The transformation of the house alone is something I never saw coming, but it was an effective and memorable mirroring of the conflicts that went on between the characters. [I don’t want to say too much here, that’s why I’m being a little vague.]

Through the images that were created by the changing set and the complete abandon with which the characters effected those changes, the movie achieved a haunting atmosphere that stayed with me for a while after seeing the film. Although I have to admit that at times I had my problems going along with those changes, since I automatically kept wondering whether it was realistic – a question that was completely besides the point in this case.

traselcristal1But that wasn’t the movie’s only selling feature. The performances were fantastic, most of all David Sust, though Günter Meisner was also pretty convincing – especially when it comes to his breathing troubles I didn’t doubt it for a second. And Gisèle Echevarría was also really strong.

There are a lot of things in the film or at least a lot of things you can put in the film – I can imagine that analyses of various things in it could be quiet interesting. But for me the most haunting aspect was the meticulous, albeit impressionistic recreation of World War II with only a few people within a single house that managed to be one of the most concise examination and reprocession of the atrocities of the time I ever saw on film.

traselcristal2Summarizing: Watch it, definitely.

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