This film is part of Free

The Shepherds of Berneray

An intimate documentary of life of crofters through the seasons of a single year on an island in the Outer Hebrides.

Documentary 1981 55 mins


In 1980, Jack Shae and Allen Moore, two ethnographic filmmakers from Harvard University, moved their families to the island of Berneray in the Outer Hebrides. Over the course of 18 months they documented the everyday lives and struggles of the crofters they lived among, whom were even then a vanishing breed. The film is in English and Gaelic.

This carefully observed documentary by filmmakers Jack Shae and Allen Moore is a poetic ethnographic film in the style of their mentor, Robert Gardner (“Dead Birds”). It follows the rhythm of life on a wind-swept island in the Outer Hebrides through the four seasons and in the filmmakers’ observation of the day-to-day struggles of a vanishing society we see the deep-time legacy of their kind. The film is in English and Gaelic.