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Australia 2008
Directed by
Scott Hicks
115 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars

Glass: A Portrait Of Philip In Twelve Parts

It is hard to imagine who, other than die-hard Philip Glass fans, would want to watch Scott Hicks’s fawning portrait of the composer as there is nothing particularly interesting about it in either form or content. Hicks allows Glass to play to the camera and adopts the standard approach of inviting celebrities, family members and in Glass's case, spiritual mentors (one of them, Gelek Rimpoche, arriving in a chauffeured car for the purpose!) to relate fond observations that confirm what a really top guy he is.

Despite the implication that the very nature of this project suggests that Glass is a typical-enough victim of celebrity narcissism, Hicks' evident purpose is to establish Glass as an unassuming ordinary guy. However precisely for that reason there is little of interest in following him around whilst he plays with his kids, practices Qi Gong or attends rehearsals of his music.  Given the mundanity of this material, it is, and perhaps more so, disappointing that though there are some few insights into Glass’s creative process there is little said of his music. As it divides audiences and critics alike this would seem to be a major oversight. No doubt with respect to both the man and his music there are two sides to the story but Hicks not only presents only one of them but does nothing of interest with that which he does. The end result amounts to the kind of disingenuous hagiography that passes as an artist profile-cum-promotional video. Half the running time would have been perfectly adequate for this purpose

DVD Extras: If you disagree with the above comments you are likely to be well pleased by Madman's 2 disc release which offers not only a director's commentary but over 3 hours of extras including addition performances and interviews; deleted and extended scenes as well as an insert booklet with production notes.

Available from: Madman




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