Cinema Releases - Henry Glassie: Field Work
Henry Glassie: Field Work is a magisterial portrait of the most renowned American folklorist and ethnologist, Henry Glassie, now in his seventies. With a view of Glassie’s life’s work, the film displays the director’s trademark eye for details of the deepest significance, and celebrates the people with whom he stands and their work. Glassie’s subject is folklore but his abiding love for the people who create it resonates throughout the film. Glassie’s long professional life encompasses the people and folklore of his native southern states; from the sublime vocal purity of Ola Belle Reed whom he befriended and recorded in the sixties, to the potters, sculptors, metal workers, gilders and painters of sacred art in Brazil, the ceramic masters and the women rug makers and weavers of Turkey, the story tellers and singers of Ballymenone on the Northern Irish border. Filmed in Brazil, Ireland and the US in Glassie’s presence, artists like the sculptor Edival Rosas from Salvador city describe their practice as one where body and spirit are integrated, where in Glassie’s words the creative act brings “a momentary fulfillment of what it is to be human”.
Opens digitally in conjunction with partner cinemas from Friday, 16 April
Watch the film and support your preferred cinema (half the money goes to support each cinema).
Picture House Uckfield
Small Screen (Scotland)
Bracknell Film Society
And also: The Folklore Society
Available in Ireland through IFI@Home and the QFT Player (Queens Film Theatre, Belfast)
Pat Collins is a Cork-born filmmaker who has directed over 30 films. Henry Glassie: Fieldwork is his latest documentary and premiered at TIFF in 2019. His first film, Michael Hartnett - A Necklace of Wrens, won the Jury Award at the Celtic Film Festival in 2000. Talking to the Dead centred on the Irish funeral tradition, and Oiléan Thoraí won Best Irish Documentary at the Irish Film and Television Awards in 2003. Abbas Kiarostami – The Art of Living (co-directed with Fergus Daly) was a fine portrait of the Iranian director, while Rebel County used the shooting of Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley to explore the War of Independence in West Cork. Collins has directed documentaries on the Irish writer Frank O’Connor, the poet Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and the Connemara-based writer and cartographer Tim Robinson. His film, John McGahern: A Private World, again won Best Irish Documentary in 2005, and in the same year Marooned won the Best Irish Sports Documentary award. The feature portrait, Gabriel Byrne: Stories from Home, was completed in 2008, and the film essay What We Leave in Our Wake in 2011. Collins’ 2012 feature film Silence, about a sound recordist who is returning to Ireland for the first time in 15, received its international premier at London International Film Festival in 2013. His feature film Song of Granite was based on the life of the traditional Irish singer Joe Heaney. It received its world premiere at SXSW 2017 and was the Irish nomination for best Foreign Language Oscar 2018. In May 2020, the Irish Times listed ‘Silence’ and ‘Song of Granite’ in the top twenty ‘Best Irish films of all time’.
More details on his films can be found at: Harvestfilms.ie
2019 Henry Glassie: Field Work
2017 Song of Granite
2014 Living in a Coded Land
2012 Silence (Fiction)
2011 What We Leave in Our Wake
2011 Tim Robinson: Connemara
2009 The Great Irish Famine - Remember Skibbereen
2009 Lough Hyne
2008 Pilgrim (Documentary short)
2008 Loch Dearg [co-directed with Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde] (Documentary short)
2008 Gabriel Byrne: Stories from Home
2007 Na Duganna
2007 Ar Thóir Logainmeacha
2007 Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill - Taibhsí i mBéal na Gaoithe
2006 Hidden History (TV Series documentary)
2006 David Marcus: A Conversation with Dermot Bolger
2005 Domhnach in Éireann (Sunday in Ireland) [co-directed with Conor Hammond, Eamon Little, Adrian McCarth]
2005 John McGahern: A Private World
2005 Beyond the Mountain
2005 Cathair Corcaigh
2005 Rebel County
2004 Marooned (TV Movie documentary)
2003 Abbas Kiarostami: The Art of Living [co-directed with Fergus Daly]
2003 Frank O'Connor - The Lonely Voice
2002 Oileán Thoraí (Tory Island)
2001 Idir na Línte
2000 Talking to the Dead
1999 Michael Hartnett – A Necklace of Wrens
|Nilo dos Santos|
|Sharon Whooley||ASSOCIATE PRODUCER|
|Keith Walsh||FILM EDITOR|
|Colm Hogan||DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY|
|John Brennan||LOCATION SOUND|
|Brendan Rehill||SOUND MIXER|
|Philip King||EXECUTIVE PRODUCER|
"There’s an unmistakable slow-cinema vibe to this scrupulously observational documentary…"
"This brave, unusual film."
"Hypnotic glimpses of folk art in the making…it’s fascinating and hypnotic to watch."
Andrew Pulver, THE GUARDIAN
‘Contemplative, slow cinema observation – the results are mesmerising.’
‘This isn’t one of those docs about art that treats itself as an artefact awaiting your adoration, it’s a film to be felt, engaged with and argued over. It’s an immersive, life-affirming affair, gently restorative of one’s faith in humanity. And if it’s not exactly Collins’s most characteristic offering, it’s certainly evidence of a genuinely great film-maker at work.’
Trevor Johnston, SIGHT & SOUND
"Excellent" "Wonderful documentary..."
"…You have some idea what to expect from a Pat Collin’s documentary – intellectual integrity played out at a studied pace – and he does not disappoint…"
"A comforting film for uncomfortable times."
"Quiet contemplations of creativity…"
"Great Irish filmmaker Pat Collins documents the work of a famous ethnographer...with shots of artists from around the world constructing beautiful items from wood, metal and paper."
Donald Clarke, THE IRISH TIMES
"There is a very rare and mesmeric register to be found in this Galway Film Fleadh winner, one that slows you right down to its pace. It is something Collins tends to do, and when he achieves this, not only does his filmmaking absorb you wholesale from the noise of the world, but things find their way in – small delicate details that modern life has no time for any longer, things that accumulate as we begin to notice them and amount to something quietly astonishing."
Hilary White, THE IRISH EXAMINER
"An ASMR-powered documentary portrait of the famed and eloquent ethnographer and folklorist.""Shivers are routinely sent down the spine while watching Pat Collins’ fascinating, low-tempo profile of Henry Glassie.""It’s a slow start but it quickly sweeps you in, mixing ambient process shots with searing insight."
David Jenkins, LITTLE WHITE LIES
"Collins initially wanted to tell the story of Glassie’s long career researching and writing about folk art – ranging from his native southern states, including the work of singer Ola Belle Reed, whom he recorded in the 1960s, via Brazilian potters and sacred artists to women rug weavers in Turkey. But along the way, with Glassie’s collaboration, he discovered something bigger than the folklorist’s own research.
The resulting film, Henry Glassie: Field Work, is a profound treatise on the anthropology of art, blending critical study, observation, archive footage and outstanding sound recording and photography.
More than anything, Collins’ film is a groundbreaking work on the art of seeing, reflecting on the practices of art makers around the world and their devotion to shaping their art from raw materials."
Georgia Korossi, BFI WEBSITE INTERVIEW
"Collins’ engrossing film: it would be impossible not to be engaged, challenged and awed by much of it."
Mike McCahill, CINÉSTHESIA
"Beautiful and almost mediative"
Esther McCarthy, THE IRISH EXAMINER
“Cleverly constructed and heartfelt documentary about American folklorist Henry Glassie'
The impulse to create art is celebrated with reverence and warm admiration. Inspired by the experiences and ideas of the American folklorist, director Pat Collins (Song Of Granite etc) has fashioned a beguiling documentary that showcases the best instincts of humanity."
"There is also something immensely appealing about Glassie’s philosophy of life; his belief that people are basically good, that the instinct to create is more powerful than the urge to destroy and that art in all its forms (a burnished pot, a sumptuous meal, a grand yarn) transcends borders to prove that we are all individuals but are all part of a wider society. The combination of wise words and beautiful objects is comfort viewing for the soul and given the state of the world it has rarely felt more welcome."
Allan Hunter, SCREEN DAILY
“Veteran Irish helmer Pat Collins’ new documentary favours an observational approach as it paints a unique portrait of the titular American scholar"
Pat Collins' documentary is a striking didactic experience that will gradually introduce us to the life and work of one of the most important folklorists of our age.”
Davide Abbatescianni, CINEUROPA
"Moving and fascinating documentary… employs distinctive aspects of his preferred medium to complement and highlight key features of his subject...enthralling film.’
“Collins provides extraordinary detail and patience in documenting the emergence of each artistic work he features.”
Seán Crosson, FILM IRELAND MAGAZINE
"One could call Pat Collins an old soul. His unhurried films are quiet and thoughtful. Henry Glassie: Field Work is an ode to artists and artisans and, in particular, one man who has devoted his life towards documenting the works of painters and poets. Collins begins with scenes that all but resemble raw materials and then the doc slowly, beautifully, reveals a work of art."
Pat Mullen, POV MAGAZINE
"Heartwarming as it is captivating …Pat Collin’s inspiring documentary… encapsulates not only the contextuality of art, but the celebration of one’s unique culture…
"Like the many beautiful art delicately created in the film, Henry Glassie: Field Work is an intricate documentary worth learning from."
Angela Olivares, THE WEEKLY SPOON