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TIFF 2019 Review – Henry Glassie: Field Work

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Folklorist Henry Glassie embeds himself in communities situated in Brazil, Turkey, Ireland and America.

In an effort to understand what various cultures consider to be beautiful art, folklorist Henry Glassie travels around the world and gradually integrates himself into the daily life of the locals; the approach has worked as several books have been written by him on his experiences.

The most intriguing aspects are when the artists are showcase going about their craft whether it be pottery, wood sculptures, carpet weaving or singing songs; the editing and cinematography are nonintrusive and the sound design relies solely on production sound and avoids the use of a musical score.  It all adds up to an immersive experience.

Glassie makes his presence felt through voice-overs, cutaways, and interview clips which at first are minimal but near the conclusion becomes more pronounced; the narrative shift from relying on the imagery to the commentary of Glassie undermines previous accomplishment.  Overall, the documentary is a fascinating study of community life and the artwork it helps to inspire.

Check out all of our TIFF coverage
Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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