Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

Feore, ColmGirard, Fran├žois

Primary Category: Performing Arts / Film, TV, Video

Genre: Film

Annotated by:
Duffin, Jacalyn
  • Date of entry: Dec-31-1899
  • Last revised: Aug-07-2001

Summary

A tiny figure slowly emerges from a vast expanse of snow, and a succession of short essays recreate moments in the life of the brilliant Canadian pianist, Glenn Gould (Colm Feore). From his unusual Ontario childhood to his musical debuts on the international stage, to his eccentric living, performing, dressing, driving, waking, and sleeping habits, this film offers insights into his loneliness, hypochondria, polypharmacy, and tragic death from a stroke at age 50 in 1982. The artistic vignettes are enriched by a tender humour, the intimate recollections of real-life friends, the abstract beauty of piano keys in motion, and above all, Gould's immortal playing.

Commentary

Gould's musical genius was well tempered by his foibles. Did he cease performing in public from his professed conviction that recordings were better? Or, was he afraid? If he preferred his unending solitude, why did he find it necessary to phone friends at 3 a.m. and talk at them until they fell asleep? Was hypochondria the disease for which he took hundreds of different types of prescription medications? Or, was it somehow a futile, preventive response to an uncanny premonition of his sudden end?

Miscellaneous

Music by Glenn Gould

Primary Source

Sony Classical Film and Video