Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

Watch Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

"The sound of genius."
  • NR
  • 1994
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 7.3  (3,864)

Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, directed by François Girard, is a unique and unconventional biographical film that explores the enigmatic life and artistry of the famous Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. As the title suggests, the film is divided into thirty-two short films, each depicting a different aspect of Gould's life, personality, and music. The films are not arranged in chronological order, but rather jump back and forth between different periods in Gould's life, creating a non-linear and impressionistic portrait of the artist.

The first film, titled "The Idea of North," sets the tone for the rest of the film. It is a documentary-style film that features voices of people who live in the far North of Canada, mixed with Gould's music. The film highlights Gould's fascination with the North, which he believed was a symbol of the essence of Canadian identity.

The subsequent films explore different aspects of Gould's life, such as his childhood, his relationships with women, his eccentricities, and his musical genius. Some films show him performing, while others delve into his inner world, his neuroses, and his philosophies about music and life. One of the most haunting films shows Gould sitting in a darkened room playing Bach's Goldberg Variations, while around him the city life goes on, cars driving past and people going about their busy lives.

All of the films are shot in a distinctive and creative style, combining documentary footage, fictional re-imaginations, and abstract visual metaphors. The film's cinematography is stunning, using a mix of long shots, close-ups, and unusual camera angles to capture Gould and his surroundings in a fresh and original way.

The acting in the film is superb, particularly Colm Feore's portrayal of Gould. Feore completely immerses himself into the character, capturing Gould's idiosyncrasies, his awkwardness in social situations, and his intense passion for music. Derek Keurvorst and Katya Ladan also give strong performances in their supporting roles.

One of the most striking aspects of Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould is the way it handles its subject. Rather than presenting a conventional, linear narrative of Gould's life, the film instead creates a fragmented, kaleidoscopic portrait of the artist. By breaking down Gould's life into smaller fragments, the film allows the audience to connect with different aspects of his personality and to see him in a new light.

Another impressive aspect of the film is its use of music. Gould's music is a constant presence throughout the film, sometimes as a background to other images, sometimes as the focal point of the film. The film includes many of Gould's most famous performances, but also includes lesser-known pieces and improvisations.

Overall, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould is a thought-provoking and visually stunning biographical film that offers a fascinating glimpse into the life and artistry of one of Canada's greatest musicians. Girard's unconventional approach may not be to everyone's taste, but for those willing to take the journey, the film offers a unique and rewarding cinematic experience.

Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (3,864)