Originally presented as 33 short video-art pieces in a gallery installation known as “Blood of a Poet” — the pic’s original title — “Glass Lips” exerts a chilly fascination from minute to minute without quite achieving a cumulative impact. Experimental pic by noted Polish-born artist-filmmaker Lech Majewski (“The Garden of Earthly Delights”) is a harshly beautiful, dialogue-free meditation on the indelible influence of childhood trauma and the potency of alternatively divine and debased religious imagery. Limited theatrical and noncommercial engagements may attract venturesome auds.
Pic’s unifying thread is a tormented young mental patient (Patryk Czajka) who’s haunted by memories of a dysfunctional childhood with an abusive father (Grzegorz Przybyl) and a passive mother (Joanna Litwin). Some scenes of domestic discord recall the frightful eruptions of paternal fury in Terence Davies’ “Distant Voices, Still Lives.” More often, though, “Glass Lips” is a surreal thing, most effective and affecting during scenes infused with biblical allusions. At one point, the father appears intent on reliving the Old Testament story of Abraham. Another scene, among the pic’s best, wittily depicts contemporary museum visitors who, inspired by a religious painting, recreate the image as a tableau vivant.