Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

While the title is deceiving, "Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould" is a thirtysomething, impressionistic approach to the life and times of the iconoclastic classical pianist. An assured melange of dramatic re-creation, archival material and interviews, it is a uniquely entertaining venture. One need not know Gould's artistry or be atuned to the music to respond to the material. It has definite upscale appeal, and ancillary prospects are decidedly upbeat.

With:
Glenn Gould ... Colin Feore

While the title is deceiving, “Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould” is a thirtysomething, impressionistic approach to the life and times of the iconoclastic classical pianist. An assured melange of dramatic re-creation, archival material and interviews, it is a uniquely entertaining venture. One need not know Gould’s artistry or be atuned to the music to respond to the material. It has definite upscale appeal, and ancillary prospects are decidedly upbeat.

Director/co-writer Francois Girard is neither particularly interested in fashioning a Hollywood-style bio nor in conducting clinical dissection. His take on Gould is rather like a tone poem, and is unquestionably reverential. He comes up with intriguing and unusual ways of cozying up to genius.

Apart from the requisite biographical details, the so-called short films run the gamut. There are a couple of Gould’s non-musical ventures for radio and a segment of his film collaboration with animator Norman MacLaren.

There’s also dramatic reconstruction of key events in his life, including his last live performance. Woven into an already rich tapestry are a handful of recollections, often bland, from real-life colleagues and friends.

The personal qualities that made Gould unique and a seminal force are never fully defined. But that proves a satisfying tact; any conclusion about the driven, chronically unwell artist who died at 50 undoubtedly would have been glib and banal.

Girard and co-writer Don McKellar affect an organic mixture of fact, drama and points in between that, if not stamped Canadian, at least reflects an artistic format at which the country’s filmmakers excel. The blurring of real and reconstructed elements is seamless, heightened by pristine visuals and naturalistic performances.

Though arguably a one-man show for actor Colin Feore, an army of performers provide memorable turns, particularly Gale Garnett and David Hughes. But it is Feore at the front and center, creating music and orchestrating lives with the same facility with which he commands orchestras. A memorable dramatic bridge segues from a series of overheard conversations in a diner to his offbeat method of conveying images of the north in a radio doc.

“Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould” is music for the heart of adventurous filmgoers. Definitely in a high class of its own, it is one of the few pictures to capture the nature of the artist and his craft.

Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

Canada

Production: Rhombus Media present a Max Film with the participation of Telefilm Canada, OFDC in association with the NFBC, CBC, Nos-Television, RTP-Portugal, Oy Yleisradio Ab and Glenn Gould Ltd. Produced by Niv Fichman. Directed by Francois Girard. Screenplay, Girard, Don McKellar. Research, Nick McKinney, Chantal Neveu.

Crew: Camera (Kodak), Alain Dostie; editor, Gaetan Huot; design consultant, Charles Dunlop; art direction, John Rubino; costume design, Linda Muir; sound (Dolby), Stuart French; artistic consultants, Charles Dunlop, John Rubino; casting, Deidre Bowen. Reviewed at Festival of Festivals (Gala), Toronto, Sept. 11, 1993. Running Time: 93 min.

With: Glenn Gould ... Colin FeoreWith: Gale Garnett, Katya Ladan, David Hughes, Gerry Quigley, Carlo Rota, Peter Millard, Yehudi Menuhin, Bruno Monsaingeon.

More Film

  • Blade Runner 2049

    Oscars: 'The Last Jedi,' 'Blade Runner 2049' and More Advance in VFX Race

    While the title is deceiving, “Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould” is a thirtysomething, impressionistic approach to the life and times of the iconoclastic classical pianist. An assured melange of dramatic re-creation, archival material and interviews, it is a uniquely entertaining venture. One need not know Gould’s artistry or be atuned to the music to […]

  • Eliza Hittman Penny Lane

    Eliza Hittman, Penny Lane Snag Rooftop Films Grants (EXCLUSIVE)

    While the title is deceiving, “Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould” is a thirtysomething, impressionistic approach to the life and times of the iconoclastic classical pianist. An assured melange of dramatic re-creation, archival material and interviews, it is a uniquely entertaining venture. One need not know Gould’s artistry or be atuned to the music to […]

  • Ashleigh Cummings6th Annual Australians in Film

    Ashleigh Cummings Joins Warner Bros.' 'The Goldfinch' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    While the title is deceiving, “Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould” is a thirtysomething, impressionistic approach to the life and times of the iconoclastic classical pianist. An assured melange of dramatic re-creation, archival material and interviews, it is a uniquely entertaining venture. One need not know Gould’s artistry or be atuned to the music to […]

  • Alamo Drafthouse Launching Video Rental Store

    Alamo Drafthouse Launching Video Rental Store in 2018 (EXCLUSIVE)

    While the title is deceiving, “Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould” is a thirtysomething, impressionistic approach to the life and times of the iconoclastic classical pianist. An assured melange of dramatic re-creation, archival material and interviews, it is a uniquely entertaining venture. One need not know Gould’s artistry or be atuned to the music to […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    Box Office: Fathom Events Sees Soaring 2017 Performance (EXCLUSIVE)

    While the title is deceiving, “Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould” is a thirtysomething, impressionistic approach to the life and times of the iconoclastic classical pianist. An assured melange of dramatic re-creation, archival material and interviews, it is a uniquely entertaining venture. One need not know Gould’s artistry or be atuned to the music to […]

  • The CastPoveri ma ricchissimi movie photocall,

    Italian Moviegoers Shrug Off Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Director Fausto Brizzi

    While the title is deceiving, “Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould” is a thirtysomething, impressionistic approach to the life and times of the iconoclastic classical pianist. An assured melange of dramatic re-creation, archival material and interviews, it is a uniquely entertaining venture. One need not know Gould’s artistry or be atuned to the music to […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content