I just wish it wasn’t about me!”
Philip Glass to filmmaker Scott Hicks
This is an achingly beautiful documentary about one of my favorite living musicians, Philip Glass.
In my opinion, four things make this film truly great:
(1) The music.
(2) Glass' amazing friend Chuck Close and his mesmerizing artwork.
(4) the just-voyeuristic-enough peeks into Glass' complex romantic life.
In addition to the above there are a few other things that really got to me. One of the highlights is when Glass talks about his teacher, Nadia Boulanger, with whom he studied in Paris from 1964 to 1966. Glass says, in the film, "when I came to her I was a Juilliard graduate, when I left I was a composer."
The documentary also includes fascinating segments with Woody Allen and Errol Morris, with whom Glass has collaborated extensively. I mentioned "humor" above, and sprinkled throughout there are references to the less than warm reception that Glass' music has often encountered over the years, including the following "joke":
Here's a longer version.]
There are two places in the film where time completely stops, and one just sits, listening. These are when clips from the film Koyaanisqatsi are shown, and then during Glass' solo performance in Melbourne. Those moments are absolutely spellbinding, but they are simply the high-water marks in a genuine masterpiece of documentary filmmaking.
- Official website for Glass: A Portrait of Philip in 12 Parts
- Filmmaker Magazine interview with Scott Hicks
- Glass Notes (a blog devoted to all things Philip Glass)
- Scott Hicks gets to the heart of Glass
- Documentary.org profile of Scott Hicks
- Bob Edwards on Scott Hicks on Philip Glass
- Chuck Close