An exuberant 1958 Oscar®-winning film about glass-blowing, automation and all that jazz

Bert Haanstra

10 minutes


  • Glas won master film maker Bert Haanstra a well-deserved Academy Award® for Best Short Documentary in 1959. The film contrasts the production of hand made crystal from the Royal Leerdam Glass Factory with automated bottle making machines in the Netherlands. An industrial film with a bebop heart, its lyrical use of light and sound still looks and sounds fabulous, nearly 60 years after it was made.

  • Director Biography:

    Bert Haanstra (May 1916 – October 1997), was an internationally acclaimed Dutch film maker with a career spanning four decades. Though he made several forays into fictional cinema, it is his documentaries, which cast a sidelong and often idiosyncratic glance at the human animal, for which he is best known.

  • Director: Bert Haanstra
  • Producer: Government of the Netherlands

  • Running Time: 10 minutes
  • Website:

Add your own review…

  • Raimonda

    Its a poem to the glass & jazz. A great metaphor to discover the art where one element associates to the other, it tastes as an very old wine. The great portraits of masters, cool characters. A magic atmosphere, fire and sound shaping the glass, a wonderful chorus of voices & hands, great details of the smokers. You feel deep, those diverse souls playing harmoniously their old favorite tune. I sow the film several times by myself, and screening to the students as well. It is an inspiring work. Thank you.

  • Michael Prewitt

    So Grandiose!

  • Bjorn

    I liked the bits with all the glass in it.

  • Ela


  • Edgar

    Very nice! I work as a glass blower for Waterford Crystal in Waterford and it’s still made the same way here by hand. Amazing as it’s 50 odd years ago that was shot. Old ways are still the best!!!

  • Nathan Neddo

    I love! Made as well or better than most I’ve seen in more recent years, truly a work of art vs. Industry.

  • brian

    What a beautiful dichotomy! I have blown glass for 20+ years and this film brings a huge grin to my face. The juxtaposition of off-hand versus machine made – the lackadaisical attitude of the machine operator rolling his smoke….love it. Makes me wish I was in my shop right now. The film is so vivid that it also stimulates my olfactory senses. Mold blowing into wood has a specific odor. I cannot only see the glass shop, I can also hear it, feel its tempo, and smell it! This gem only gets better each time I watch it.

  • David Alves

    This is one of the most brilliant films I have ever seen in my life. The compostion of the craft of the glass-blowers and the artistic finesse of the jazz, contrasting with the repetition and mechanical rhythm of the automated workers is absolutely marvelous. I can honestly understand why this is still so relevant and touching. I hope that Aeon Film will continue to post precious wonders like this.

  • Lorne

    This is very interesting except the obvious addictive drug use(Nicotine) which I do not find pleasing at all. The ancient art of glass blowing my disappear in due course, giving-way to automation and that will be a sad day indeed..

  • chazaq

    Outstanding. The editing is superb and matches the tempo and rhythm of the jazz—quick while preserving orientation. Excellent punchline syncing the horns with the puffed cheeks. A great film artist’s admiration of the work of fellow artist of a different medium. Bravo.

  • jean mensing

    This is a brilliant film. And what a brilliant expansion of you already exciting site. I would have loved to have seen him make this from beginning to end of the process. What editing. thanks look forward to the next film.

  • Linghong

    So all these beautiful curvy shapes of glassware are entirely HANDMADE, not from a machine. I guess I have long forgotten the marvelousness and exquisiteness of handicrafts.

  • brian

    What a marvelous film. The glass blowers artistry is characterized so well by the music. The rhythms of the machines are in terrific counterpoint to the movements of the hands.

  • Sam McCain

    I can’t believe I’ve never come across this wonderful film before. It makes you wonder how many gems like this are out there, sitting in archives.