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on 27 July 2009
This beautifully shot feature length documentary from film director Scott ('Shine')Hicks is set to become the definitive potraite of the great American "Minimalist" composer Philip Glass. Interviewee's include Philips Wife, children, siblings, old friends such as Chuck Close and collaborators from Woody Allan to Martin Scorcese. In the twelve Chapters that this film is divided into very aspect of Philips life is covered, both past and present: from early childhood (including earliest musical memories and inspirations), to educational experiences at Chicago college and The Julliard School, to studying under Nadia Boulanger and Ravi Shankar, the origins and formation of the Philip Glass Ensemble, formative experiences in Paris and New York and even PG's religous beliefs and practices are filmed and discussed, it is a truely exaustive account of a life lived to the fullest.
The real revelation and delight of this film, however, is the personality of the man himself; engaging, warm, funny, open, candid, 'Down-to-Earth' and articulate with none of the pomposity, granduer or self-importance one imagines when the word 'Composer' is mentioned!He is the total antithesis of how you would imagine a composer of Philips stature to be. Once you have seen this film you feel as if you have made a new friend, thats how intimate a portraite it is.
Having first discovered Philips music through a late-night screening of 'Powaqqatsi'(still my favourite) it is a delight to see that films visionary director Godfrey(Koyaanisqatsi)Reggio included in this doc' and in the bonus interviews on the second disc in this collection. When will someone (please) make a feature length documentary about that fascinating man and his lifes work? He's a genius!
The second disc contains the three full 'unabridged' interviews with Philip which last for aprox' 1 hour 45 minutes (edited versions of which appear in the main feature) and bonus performances including: 'Dracula'(with Kronos Quartet), 'Metamorphosis'(solo piano), 'Orion'(Philip Glass Ensemble), and 'Einstein on the Beach'(rehearsal only!). This two disc set is surely a must buy for any serious admirer of Philip Glass' music.Highly recommended.
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on 23 December 2009
"If you don't like my music, then listen to something else," Philip Glass advises in this documentary. "I don't care."
I however do care, a lot. Glass is that rare sort of composer you can easily feel related to, although I can well imagine that many people get irritated by the repetiveness (I rather call it 'subtleties') of his work.
Having listened to his film scores, his string quartets, his first four symphonies and his compositions for solo cello and his collaboration with Ravi Shankar, I couldn't but become a fan of the man.
Purchasing the Scott Hicks documentary was therefore a logical thing to do, and I don't know if I expected a portrait of a genius (actually, I think I did), but what I got was a man who owes his success to hard work, who had to cope with silent opposition from his father, who has known tragedy and failure in his personal life, etc.
Does this make him less of an artist or less of a man? In my opinion, it doesn't. Scott Hicks has presented us a gifted musician who is not too conceited to admit that in spite of (or, because of) his fascination for beauty, he has known a fair amount of darkness as well. My only point of criticism is that sometimes Glass overdoes it.
There is nothing wrong with being of flesh and blood, but was it necessary to emphasize his 70-year-old youghtfulness by putting the man in a roller coaster and a go-kart?
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 October 2013
This documentary takes its title from the early Glass piece Music in 12 Parts, and is lightly structured into twelve segments.

The subject of the original novella Death in Venice, is an author, but in the Visconti film he is a composer, offering the chance to include compositions by Mahler. Of all the arts, composing seems the most elemental and strange. Even Glass himself offers little insight, describing a composition as a river that flows underwater, that sometimes he can only just hear.

Although this is likely to mainly appeal to Glass fans, it deserves a far wider audience. For Glass fans it is nearly two hours of the man himself, and his family and friends, with plenty of music and performances. The DVD version come with an extra disc of performances. However even non fans are likely to find it time well spent. Glass brings a childlike freshness and openness to living. He is engaging and unpretentious company, leading a brilliant but ramshackle life.

Real life intrudes, this is not an entirely cosy homage to the great man, it is filmed while his fourth marriage disintegrated under the self imposed pressure of his relentless workload. Even his most avid fans, would surely afford him some time off for a personal life.

This is a warm insight into an interesting life, that provokes questions about an artists devotion to his muse and the nature of creativity. Definitely a film to cherish and return to.
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on 24 February 2014
I chose this rating because I found the whole production stimulating, informative,very fulfilling
Nothing that I did not really like about it.
It gave a full and colourful image of the composer and his talent, his driven composing, his personal life. Fascinating.
Recommend to all fans of Philip Glass
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on 4 June 2012
This film is better than you might think. Rather than being a hagiography of Glass, it simply follows him around as he meets friends and gets on with his work. The overall impression is of a driven, even obsessive, man who by hard work has achieved the status he now enjoys. That his wife separates from in in the course of the film shows the downside of this work ethic. My favorite scene has Glass making a pizza.

Glass does not think that we should like his music and advises us to listen to something else if we don't like it.

The extras on the film are a set of longer interviews which are wider ranging than the feature and the source of some of Glass's voice over commentary in the film and also performances of works or parts of works from Australia - Metamorphoses, the opening of Einstein On The Beach and Orion.
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on 26 June 2014
This is such a beautifully made film, very moving and a valid insight into the talent that is Philip Glass.
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on 11 October 2014
Disc One is an excellent documentary about a very talented musician, his family and friends. At times touching, but always interesting and intelligent, it is filmed expertly, with of course, plenty of the composer's wonderful music. It lost a point from us for the Extras, Disc Two, which we found a really hard grind to work our way through, but having said that, it is well worth having for Disc One.
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on 2 April 2013
if you have any interest in mr glass then you should find something in here, and there lots of it with the extras , with lots of interviews with philip and him with friends in new york and various other places , some of it goes on a little too long, but great value
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on 26 November 2014
This was actually a present for someone else who, I have since heard, enjoyed it as much as I did when I saw it at the cinema. I have actually ordered two more as Christmas presents for people who I think will love it, too.I
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on 22 April 2012
This is a very interesting DVD. It reveals quite a lot about Glass that I didn't know before.He is a very complex character.
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