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Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1994)

Cast: Colm Feore, Colm Feore, Gale Garnett, more...
Director: François Girard, François Girard
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Biopics, Quirky Characters, Canada
Running Time: 93 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
    see additional details...

This title is currently out of print.

The highly acclaimed and famously eccentric classical pianist Glenn Gould is the subject of this idiosyncratic film portrait. As the title suggests, Gould's life is explored through a series of thirty-two self-contained but interrelated vignettes, a structure inspired by Bach's "Goldberg Variations," the compositions that were the basis for one of Gould's most famous recordings. Fictional recreations, many starring an excellent Colm Feore as Gould, follow the musician from his precocious childhood to his early death at the age of fifty. Juicy biographical details like a surprising early retirement from public performance and an addiction to prescription drugs are featured prominently, but equal attention is paid to Gould's challenging theoretical ideas. Director Francois Girard refuses to provide easy explanations for the pianist's quirks, instead using his unconventional structure to provide great insight while suggesting the real Gould remains essentially unknowable. Especially interesting is the film's mix of dramatization and documentary, as it juxtaposes its fictional recreations with actual interviews with Gould's friends and associates. ~ Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Most films... by wes2666 June 9, 2005 - 9:19 AM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
that take music or math as their subject are satisfied to flash number and patterns across the screen accompanied by frenetic music and go "There that's math" (Pi) or use over the top portrayals to communicate the rapture of genius (Amadeus) but 32 Shorts Films... structures its narrative to present Gould's quirky, detached life as one of the baroque pieces that he loved. Full of creative visual and auditory trickiness, the film echoes Bach's playful Goldberg Variations. It is also refreshing that the film avoids the Oprah-Bookclubish tendency to present every moment of a childhood as an explanation for an individual's faults and gifts. Yes, children would be cruel to an obsessive, semi-autistic but that isn't what's interesting about Gould's personality, and the film--with Gould's dry dismissal of that aspect of his childhood--is perfectly aware of this.

I Still Don't Know Much About Glenn Gould by squad December 9, 2004 - 8:15 PM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
I still don't know much about Glenn Gould, mainly because this is a film biography with an interesting format, but no photos of the actual subject. The actor who portrays Gould is quite the leading man type, very vital and composed in demeanor. Because of my total ignorance of Gould, at first I thought that this was he, making short films about his life. I did enjoy the film very much because it delivered a lot for a bored filmaholic like my self. Just the title, "32 Short Films..." peaked my interest in the first place. Gould is seen moving gracefully about in time with his music, and the cinematography is first-rate throughout. But I had to google-image to see the real Gould, and find out that he was apparently much more afflicted than portrayed. In a way I'm relieved because the Gould in the film is really just too handsome and talented and gracious to be true. Film candy is what we have, a box of 32 film chocolates, some tastier than others, but all quite good.

Come on, it's about Glenn Gould by cherryquagular November 17, 2002 - 8:29 AM PST
4 out of 7 members found this review helpful
Anybody who doesn't appreciate the contributions of Glenn Gould should be shot! I mean come on! They sent an LP with his recording of the Bach Goldberg Variations on a satallite capsule! The man's art is representative of the human race. Which by the way, if you haven't seen it, the DVD about his recording them entitled "Glenn Gould - The Goldberg Variations (1955/1981) " is also very interesting.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.37)
49 Votes
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Arty Retardy
the name says it all
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forget the Oscars! they get it wrong nearly every year. this is my list of best U.S. and best non-U.S. movies for every year back to 1930. (some years have no winners). my rules are a little different than the Academy's.

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