Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Australia, 1999. Beyond Films, Hollywood Partners, The Movie Network. Screenplay by George Goldsworthy, Peter Goldsworthy, Don Watson, based on the book Percy Grainger by John Bird, and the play Percy & Rose by Rob George. Cinematography by Martin McGrath. Produced by Matt Carroll. Music by Christine Woodruff. Production Design by Murray Picknett. Costume Design by Terry Ryan. Film Editing by Simon Martin.
Film biography of composer Percy Grainger (Richard Roxburgh), an Australian composer of the early 20th century who had a brilliant career as a pianist in England before concentrating on his own compositions. The film details his almost Oedipal relationship with his very devoted mother (Barbara Hershey), a union that prevented him from ever having any lasting affairs with any of the women in his life, as well as his explorations of the dark side of his sexuality, including a perverse obsession with self-flagellation. Emily Woof co-stars as a young Danish pianist who enters his life and shares his sadomasochistic lifestyle out of love for him, a relationship Hershey has hopes will temper Grainger’s obsession with her as well as the dark habits that she knows he gets up to. The full-blooded screenplay deals with these personal conflicts as well as Grainger’s professional career, presenting the beautiful music with great relish and highlighting some of the best of his own personal work. If you’ve ever seen James Ivory’s classic Howards End, the soundtrack of that film uses two of Grainger’s best pieces, the “Bridal Lullaby” and “Mock Morris”.