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As the title suggests, this dramatised documentary about the eccentric Canadian pianist Glenn Gould is broken up into thirty-two short films (mirroring the thirty-two part structure of Bach's 'Goldberg Variations', the recording that Gould made famous), each giving us an insight into some aspect of Gould's life and career. Out of respect for the music lead actor Colm Feore is never seen playing the piano, merely reacting to Gould's own recordings, which are extensively featured Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The structure of the film is based on the structure of the piece that Glenn Gould is most famous for playing, Johann Sebastian Bach's "Goldberg Variations", which are 32 short pieces of music that are usually played together. See more »
My mother tells me that by five years old I had decided definitively to become a concert pianist. I think she had decided some time earlier. The story goes that while I was in the womb she played the piano continuously to give me a head start, and evidently it paid off. My mother was my first teacher, and I've never doubted her methods. After all, she introduced me to Bach.
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Poignant look at an enigma - and lovely film making
'Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould' will not appeal to everybody: it is not a traditionally narrative biographical documentary, and it will not present much in the way of the facts of Gould's existence. Rather, it attempts to portray many facets of his eccentric and self-centered genius largely by non-narrative means. There are a few documentary-style interviews, but I found these to be simply providing background for the dramatizations and visuals used to bring out his character.
Gould's passions, quirks, and personality are presented with Colm Feore's decent likeness and obviously very thoroughly researched character development. Story takes a back seat to image and music, and the result for the audience is a feel for the persona of Glenn Gould, rather than the story of his life.
I am biased, as a Canadian and a lover of Gould's music, but this is one of my all-time favourite films.
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