Projections - Movie Reviews

Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

The talent and eccentricity of the late Canadian pianist Glenn Gould are beautifully captured in this highly original new film from Canada.  After winning four Genie Awards (Canada's version of the American "Oscar"), including those for Best Picture and Best Director (Francois Girard), this film is now playing before American audiences, to the particular delight of classical music enthusiasts.

Glenn Gould was born in Toronto, Canada in 1932.  At age three, it was clear that he possessed exceptional music abilities: absolute pitch and the ability to read staff notation.  At five, he was playing his own compositions for family and friends.  Gould's mother, who introduced him to the piano by playing the instrument incessantly while pregnant with him, remained his only music teacher for the first ten years of his life.  At the age of twelve, Gould gave his first public performance and was immediately recognized as a supremely gifted musician.  He continued touring for many years, as both a soloist and accompanied by the world's finest orchestras.  On April 10, 1964, after performing and lecturing extensively in Europe and the United States, he gave his last public performance at the young age of 32.  He spent the remaining eighteen years of his life devoted to: musical recordings, composing, conducting, radio and television broadcasts, and philosophy.

In order to introduce audiences to Glenn Gould, Director Francois Girard offers us 32 impressions of the artist in various settings and at various stages of his life.  Many of the short films present Gould's intensity and passion for music and life, while other segments show his reflective, introspective nature.  We see him in a private moment before his final concert and experience the loneliness and pressure a performer of his stature must have felt.  We see him in the studio deeply immersed in the playback of his latest recording, expressing in dance his delight with his musical interpretation.  We hear Gould's own words on music and on life, as well as the impressions he made on his friends and fellow musicians.

I found the film inspiring and beautiful.  This man was enraptured with music and, through this film, we have what feels like a private glimpse of the artist's many faces.  After viewing the film, I think you'll wholeheartedly agree with Gould's friend, violinist Bruno Monsaingeon, who reflected upon meeting Gould: "His eccentric manner disappeared very quickly to be replaced by an impression of the real man - a character who didn't seek to shock at all, but simply to express himself."

Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould


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