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After decades of global industrialization, glass blowing
remains largely untouched by the advancement of technology. These
mesmerizing techniques are showcased in Dutch film director Bert
Haanstra's 1959 Oscar-winning documentary entitled Glas.
This ten-minute documentary provides an escape from everyday office
life, transporting one to another world, but still familiar to the
one we live in.
The film starts with the word "Glass" translated into five
languages - Dutch, English, German, Urdu and French. The words
collapse into a floating golden ball dancing around the black
screen with a xylophone tinkling in the background. These lone
notes are quickly joined by lilting jazz as the screen brightens to
men rolling glass with ease. A variety of workers appears, some
old, some young, some dressed in suits, some in flannel, one even
smokes a pipe while blowing glass vases, candelabra, pitchers - a
truly amazing feat. There's something hypnotic about watching
glass being manipulated as easily as water. The viewer becomes
relaxed watching products being lifted gracefully from their poles
and transported by large tongs sheathed in protective
Suddenly an abrupt change of music heralds lava-looking glass
shooting through the air and then captured in steel-iron glass
casts. The music is almost grating, echoing the robotic and
repetitive way countless bottles are made. A man wearing a fedora
meanders his way through the massive machinery, prodding and poking
to ensure everything is lined up properly. One faulty bottleneck
wreaks havoc, causing bottles to fall off the line and shatter on
the cement, until an alerted worker removes the culprit, so that
the machine can continue its steady job. After this moment of
human intervention, Haanstra slides back to the handiwork of the
blowers, focusing on their hands, constantly turning, feathering
the poles. This distinction between the mechanical,
industrial production and the creative, energetic flow of the
glass-blowers movements becomes obvious to the viewer, as the music
returns to the gentle jazz. Quick clips of the glass blowers
puffing into their poles, morph into glass shooting down industrial
slides and into generic bottle molds.
A robotic voice repeats over and over an eerie and
indistinguishable mantra as is the glassware-making process. This
film, beautiful as well abstract, compels the viewer to focus on
details and even going back to watch it on repeat.
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Ah, the lazy days of summer. Sit back, relax, and let this
month's fonts do the talking for you. Try elegant Slapjack, bookish
Richler, clean Corbert, kicky New Cuisine, or flirty Mocha Script.
And let's not forget brazen Harlean, for when things get really
See the new fonts
Chicago conceptual rockers
Madina Lake combine edgy guitars and crisp harmonies to tell
their story of the American dream. Check out their sound with a
free, ready-to-use download of "They're Coming For Me."
Get the track