Movie Review: In a Glass Cage (Tras el Cristal)

I enjoy very intense films that aren’t for everyone.  I’m particularly fascinated when they were made a long time ago, and probably could not be made today due to their controversial themes.


This movie, In a Glass Cage (Tras el Cristal) is a prime example.  An Italian film made in 1987, as there are a lot of gay, kinky overtones.  And I personally find the lead teen guy pretty hot.  That said, there is also very graphic, violent and unsettling deaths of young children (I’m talking 9-12 year old range) that will be too intense and disturbing for many.  At the same time, if you can make it through, it is, at the end of the day, a beautifully shot film that really makes you question the cycle of violence in society. 

The trailer below does not contain anything graphic, but does give you a good sense of the mood.


The general plot centers around an ex-Nazi named Klaus who continues his murderous ways by torturing and ultimately killing young boys.  But wracked with guilt, he tries to kill himself by jumping off a building.  Unfortunately for him, he survives, and is now forced to exist with an iron lung (the glass cage of the title).

His wife now looks after him… until, that is, a mysterious young man volunteers to look after him as a nurse.  But it turns out the young man has some plans of his own, and may be looking for more of a mentor.  There is also a young girl, Klaus’s daughter, who may be on to the intentions of the supposed nurse.


The movie is a difficult one to watch, but I did find that after viewing it, I couldn’t get many of the images out of my head, as well as many of the social questions the movie presents.  There are also many sexual overtones between the teenaged male nurse and Klaus.

If you enjoy being challenged by films that could no longer be made today (I think it’d be safe to say this movie would never be remade), this is one to watch.  But be cautioned it is not for everyone… the movie frequently appears on lists of the most disturbing films ever made.  So you’ve been warned.


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