Somewhat reminiscent of Shine, THE EULOGY unravels the truths and myths behind the life and career of one of Australia’s most brilliant, prolific and least understood concert pianists, Geoffrey Tozer.
As an 8-year-old child prodigy the world was his oyster, and he astonished audiences around the world with his remarkable talent. As an adult he continued to perform in Australia and internationally but for a career that promised and delivered so much, Tozer’s end was shocking.
At his memorial service in 2009, Tozer’s friend and former Prime Minister, Paul Keating delivered a searing eulogy, painting a haunting picture of a lonely genius shunned by the Australian musical establishment.
“Geoffrey Tozer’s death is a national tragedy. For The Australian arts and Australian music, losing Tozer is like Canada having lost Glenn Gould.” Keating began, and later basted and blasted with his bombast aplomb, “But for all that, he could not make the cut with the latter day Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras. Their indifference and contempt towards him left him to moulder away, largely playing to himself in a rented suburban Melbourne house. The people who chose Repertoire for those two orchestras and who had charge in the selection of artists during this period should hang their heads in shame at their neglect of him. If anyone needs a case example of the Bitchiness and preference within the Australian arts, here you have it.”
Intrigued by Keating’s controversial eulogy and spurred to find out what went wrong with Tozer’s career, esteemed conductor and music educator Richard Gill delves into the demons to discover the man behind Keating’s eulogy.
Like a big screen episode of Who Do You Think You Are, THE EULOGY takes us on a journey with members of Tozer’s family, inner circle and musical colleagues to decipher the dreadful shipwreck of a career that seemed destined for superstardom.
Keating blamed bitchiness in the bureaucracy and management of our elite music organisations for Tozer’s failure to ascend the stratosphere of super stardom, but as Gill investigates further other factors come into play.
Tozer’s conception, birth and upbringing is Freudian fodder that could kindle and fuel an entire convention of psychoanalysts, and certainly spurs conversation about hot housing kids into disciplines at the expense of a “normal” childhood.
Directed and edited byJANINE HOSKING and written by Katey Grusovin, THE EULOGY is an exceptional film lives up to its name, subject and spirit.
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