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Philip Glass: A Portrait in Twelve Parts

img  Tobias

For Scott Hicks, finishing the documentary must have felt like reaching the peak of a long and winding relationship with Philip Glass and his music. After falling in love with the soundtrack to „KOYAANISQATSI“ in Adelaide all the way back in 1984, he initially temp-tracked „Snow falling on Ceders“ with a piece by the New York-based composer in 1997, before eventually entering licensing negotiations with Glass' manager Jim Keller. It wasn't until 205, however, that the idea of a joint project came up: „Jim reminded me over dinner that Philip would be turning 70 in 2007. He asked what I felt about making a documentary about him.  I decided right away to do it, without any thought of how or when.“

A previous documentary about the composer, „Looking Glass“, realised by an experienced French team, took a similar route, eschewing long theoretical passages in favour of emotions and personal revelations. And yet, „Glass – A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts“  has the additional benefit of the friendship between its creator and its subject: „Philip being Philip, there was never a dull moment.  Every day there was something new: a fresh collaboration, renewal of an old friendship, rehearsals for a world premiere of a new work, recordings of film scores (including my own “No Reservations”), sessions with other film directors, time out with his infant sons“, Hicks relished in the memory of the production phase, „ Gradually pieces of his rich and varied life revealed themselves as Philip generously opened the doors into his family and friendships, as well as the extraordinary tapestry of his evolution from early days in Paris to the downtown New York art scene of the 60’s and 70’s.“

The Print press has paid reverential applause to the movie, which in part may be down to its own belated acceptance of Glass' technique in the first place. Our much-respected colleagues of Sequenza 21, however, have also greeted the movie as pulsing with „the dichotomy of ascetic and socialite“ and as offering true insights on the persona behind the composer. Anyone in the USA with only a faint interest in contemporary culture should therefore definitely make sure to see this film, while the rest of the world can only hope that their local cinemas will embrace the documentary.

Homepage: Philip Glass
Homepage: „Glass – A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts“ Website

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