Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould
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Time Out saysSome films are so good that they remind us of cinema's capabilities, by, in a sense, reinventing, the medium's customary form. This is one of those films. It's true that director Girard and his co-writer Don McKellar started out with an extraordinary subject - the great, eccentric Canadian pianist Glenn Gould (who died, aged 50, in 1982) - but Girard's masterstroke was to take his cue from Gould's most famous piece, his interpretation(s) of Bach's Goldberg Variations, and to structure the film as 32 fragments, each revealing a different perspective. This approach pays off handsomely. We see Gould at various junctures, but while they're loosely in chronological order, these sequences are not really biographical, but tasters of a strangely distant, always compelling personality. Beyond this, Girard gives us interviews with those who knew Gould, excerpts from radio broadcasts, brief excursions into abstraction, even a segment of Norman McLaren's animation Spheres. Despite such formal dexterity, however, what's most impressive is the simplicity and clarity of the enterprise - and, of course, the music.