What I knew about Philip Glass before watching the documentary about him: He is a gifted composer responsible for some of the most memorable minimalist music of the 20th century.
What I knew about Philip Glass after watching the documentary about him: He is all that, plus a very nice man.
That documentary, “Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts,” captures a year in the life of the 70-year-old composer, a three-time Oscar nominee. He lives with his fourth wife, Holly (young enough to be his daughter), and their two young children. But mostly, he works “ something he does quite well, as talking-head guests Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese (not to mention the exquisite audio clips) attest.
Directed by Scott Hicks (“Shine”), the doc is as likable as its subject, but also as mundane. Watching Glass make pizza or “ I’m sure there’s a pun in here “ sweeping up broken glass isn’t exactly riveting cinema. Glimpses of drama are given in Holly’s confessions that her husband’s devotion to his music is somewhat of a wedge. The two since have separated; it sounds crass and voyeuristic, but had Hicks witnessed the unraveling of their union, his film could be as tense and grabbing as Glass’ compositions.
For Glass diehards, the second disc of the package is laden with extras, including live performances of some of his best-known works, including “Einstein on the Beach” and retroactive score for Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula.”