Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts

It’s hard for me to express everything I feel about this movie, and yet I would be detached from the experience if I didn’t get it all out now.

It is genuinely heartwarming to observe a man so comfortable with himself, so satisfied with his life, so dedicated to his work, and so insistent upon embracing as many things as he can to make living even better. He defies the troubled image usually thrust upon his occupation, and even if he is troubled, he masks it with curiosity and inquisition. Dabbling in Buddhism and Taoism, for example, do not make him eccentric. They don’t even make him an elitist, a vibe which emanates from more prominent celebrities and artists who wear religion like Angelina Jolie wears St. John or Mischa Barton wears Keds. Religion is not a brand. It’s not even a lifestyle, because he doesn’t impose it on anyone but himself. It’s not even a religion, really. It’s an indefinite supplement to his musical growth. While I still pitch my tent in the skeptic camp, I respect his spiritual side because the film shows how happy it has made him.

Glass’ life reflects the skeleton of a lonely and compulsive artist, but the flesh of his existence is human interaction. He takes great pride in his relationships with the Dalai Lama and Woody Allen, among many others, but he does not flaunt his acquaintances. His mind, and consequently the hands that compose, absorb inspiration from each interaction like a sponge. It doesn’t even stop with these lofty names, either. His children (and all that yoga) keep him seventy years young and his artistic friends stimulate creativity beyond the realm of the musical score.

Although the film places little emphasis on his true art (found here), an ironic fact considering Glass’ extensive work in film scoring, the music is second to that eternal theme of the “human experience.” Glass actually admits that his writing is somewhat selfish, produced primarily for himself But that hint of satisfaction in his voice, even when receiving a bad review, is clear evidence that he feeds from reaction and response.

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