Saturday, January 8, 2011

Capsule Review: Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993)

Smartly avoiding the usual trappings of biographical films, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould - as its title implies - is comprised of 32 short pieces on the famous composers life in a variety of disparate styles. While such an exercise could easily go wrong, in the hands of Canadian director François Girard (and writer Don McKellar) the film moves along at a breathless pace - punctuated by a wonderful soundtrack of Gould's playing - jumping from traditional interviews, recreations, experimental pieces, and animated sequences that somehow gel as a fine portrait of a fascinating artist. Much credit should be given to the great actor Colm Feore, who accurately envelops the character of Gould in a variety of stages in his life, and whose distinctive voice provides some consistency throughout. Not every segment is equally as captivating - a weakness of most anthology-style films - but each section is short enough that an audience could hardly feel a dip in interest before the next piece begins. A wonderful, original experiment that will fascinate even those - like myself - sadly ignorant to the intricacies of classical music.

4 comments:

Squish said...

I've always been a fan of Don McKellar's and it was a nice suprise seeing his involvement in this.

Doug Tilley said...

And he has such a distinctive voice that I caught two appearances in the film as well. For more barely visible Don McKeller, check his blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance in Scott Pilgrim.

Klaus said...

An old room mate of mine at the University of Waterloo in ON was a huge fan of Glenn Gould, so i have a fair bit of familiarity with his music. While I thought the film had an interesting approach, I wanted more from it.

I'm a big fan of McKellar as well.

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