“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe…”
British director Tomas Leach takes the viewer behind-the-scenes of a small workshop, run by Jost Haas. He manufactures glass eyes using the same techniques, unchanged for over two hundred years. Haas is a German immigrant who ventured to the UK 35 years before the human interest piece was filmed (2005) and is the last glass ocularist in Britain.
The workshop, small and cluttered, is where the magic happens; the glass eyes are made with such delicate care, revealing to the viewer the beauty of a fading art form. Realistic eyeballs and scleral shells packed away in boxes in an assortment of colors. One could even compare them to handmade candies–they are that remarkable. The tools involved in this particular trade aren’t fancy: glass, small welding and shaping tools, clear tubes for blowing into the glass, and a burner. Viewers are left in awe, pondering how can such simple tools form all sorts of shades for irises (it isn’t made entirely clear in the presentation).
Haas’ tale would not be complete if we didn’t get to know the person in front of the camera. Haas is a true professional, and dedication to producing products of excellent quality is apparent throughout the piece. He stops for small talk and commentary now and then, and resumes immersing himself in his trade. His daughter refuses to take up the craft, so there is a sense of loneliness here–he is the last person to apply this trade in his country. Such a shame when traditional specialties become not as important as other finely detailed trades.
Ben Todd was the cinematographer and is magnificent. The quality of the footage in this presentation is crisp–similar to a PBS production–and the close up shots of the eyes and the work being performed fascinates the audience, perhaps inspiring some minds to take up the occupation. If interest pieces–in particular on different professions–delights one’s fancy, it is suggested to give The Glass Eye Maker a watch. One of the most impressive documentaries I’ve seen–in under 5-minutes.
“…is as good as dead; his eyes are closed” – Albert Einstein
Source – Thomas Leach
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