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Clearly overshadowed by its Oscar-winning companion film GLAS, SPEAKING OF GLASS is a brilliant depiction of the art & craft of glass making, meticulously filmed by one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Bert Haanstra. It is recommended viewing in the complete boxed set of BH's work now out on Dutch DVDs.
Presented in black & white, rather than the color artistry of GLAS, this longer film is perfectly shot and edited, another textbook example of how to make a film. We see the intricate art of glassblowing, dissected in all its crucial steps and surprisingly showing how collaborative a craft it is, as helpers must come with fresh materials at just the right moment to create the handles, rims and bottoms used on glasses and pitchers.
The assembly line of making everything from Pepsi bottles to hand-crafted etched glassware is fascinating, and quite educational. I especially enjoyed watching the Rube Goldberg mechanical contraption that is used to permit 120 glass vases to be etched simultaneously from a single set of hand movements.
For the shorter film GLAS, Haanstra used some of the same material, but let himself go wild with pure cinema -showing the abstract beauty of the processes. Both are unbeatable works that have already stood the test of time for 50 years and will likely outlive nearly all of today's ephemeral movie product.
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