The complicated relationship between Percy Grainger, famous Australian-born early 20th century folk musician, and his abusive unstable mother that lead to his interest in S&M, instability and failed relationships with women.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Percy Grainger
...
Rose Grainger
...
Karen Holten
...
Alfhild de Luce
...
Herman Sandby
Linda Cropper ...
Mrs. Lowery
...
Bille Brown ...
John Grainger
...
Doctor
Fiona Press ...
Jenny the Maid
Genevieve Mooy ...
Ada Crossley
Peter Whitford ...
Tour Manager
Jamie Croft ...
Barrow Boy
Claire Paradine ...
Prostitute
Branden Zandstra ...
Boy in park
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Storyline

The complicated relationship between Percy Grainger, famous Australian-born early 20th century folk musician, and his abusive unstable mother that lead to his interest in S&M, instability and failed relationships with women.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Between music and love lies a secret obsession. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

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Release Date:

1 July 1999 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Passion: The Story of Percy Grainger  »

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

The Agony of Genius
18 July 1999 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews



It's great to have supportive parents, the more so when you are a creative artist of fragile ego. But a relationship with a parent can be a crippling thing, even when the parent is aware of the danger of smothering a child with affection and preventing him from forming adult relationships. So it was for the Australian musician and composer Percy Grainger. In this film, covering a year in his life (the fatal year of 1914) and taken from a stage play, the multi-talented Percy's relationship with his mother Rose is explored. She is his devoted fan, manager and confidant. She encourages Percy, in his early thirties, to fall in love with a beautiful young talented pupil, Karin. Rose knows that the wellsprings of Percy's creativity are less than sparkling clear. Percy uses flagellation to clear his head for work, a practice Rose naturally deplores. Percy recruits his pupil to flagellation, and Rose finds out.

This film reminded me somewhat of the play and film "Amadeus" (loved by God) which showed Mozart (whose music Grainger hated to play) as a dirty-minded child whose musical genius seemed to just flow out of him without apparent effort on his part. "Amadeus" suggested that his rival Salieri was so consumed with jealousy that he brought about Mozart's death, "killing" God in the process. Grainger hears music everywhere - it just flows into him from sounds all around, and he captures and processes it. He hears a folk song being sung in a pub, or a barrow boy's call in the street and gets them down on paper. As Grainger himself says in the film, it's the folk material adaptions he will probably be best remembered for.

Like Mozart, Grainger has a supportive parent who recognises this extraordinary talent and moulds his career as a performer. Such creativity comes at a price, in Percy's case emotional over-dependence on his mother and the lash. Percy's is a pretty fragile psyche despite his cheerful manner and artistic confidence. He is a blond, athletic babe-magnet - perhaps women spot the mother's boy and go for him - but for Percy adoring fans are put there for his convenience.

Richard Roxburgh does a great job as Percy, full of nervy vitality. Barbara Hershey as Rose looks too young at first but as events take their toll she ages fast and the two of them are very convincing together. Emily Wolf plays Karin with Germanic seriousness. Towards the end the pace slows down to a crawl. It's as if the director didn't know how to finish. However "Passion" is handsomely filmed and easy to watch and listen to, with many of Percy's pieces on the soundtrack.


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