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Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould - DIRECTOR'S CUT
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A tour-de-force… scrupulous, candid and eye-opening --A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Top Customer Reviews
I very much enjoyed this film, as most Gould fans will, but was somehow left with more questions than I had going in. Maybe that's okay and even for the best, but areas I'd like to have seen explored more in depth---certain relationships, his addiction, his philosophies---were given less space than certain other relationships etc, things I found much less germane to my love of the man's music.
It would have been nice to see more of the early Glenn and less of the latter, as his semi-tragic "downfall" rarely stirs the musical soul like his early triumphs (but the '81 GV are sublime), and the focus on the incidentals (the scarves and hat and overcoat, blah blah) detracts from the glory of the music at points.
There are nonetheless many fine nuggets of Gouldiana here for any fan or even casual listener. Some of the clips of him playing, as in the Eaton's studio, have moments of sheer beauty, and those alone are worth seeing this for. Likewise the love of some of his friends, though their sadness and confusion with him almost seems pointless when we could be hearing more of what really mattered: the music!
All too human being: check.
Totally unique pianist: double check.
Which matters more? I'd say the latter times a thousand, and that's the inner life I'd like to know more of via more music and interviews with Glenn, and less from those who knew him. Because after all, how many of us know anybody else's real inner life? It's all conjecture. Clearly some of these people did not really "get" Glenn, so their theories left me high and dry more than once.
But I loved seeing and hearing Gould himself, and the joy he took in playing. That's where the juice is, and for the moments this film shows Gould in his element we see that after all it was the music that mattered most to him. And us.
Knowing the biography, there were still many discoveries in the film for me. I would have liked more clinical review, even if speculative. What were the specific meds that he was unwisely mixing? Ever a behavioral diagnosis? The documentary only glances at Gould's aversion to touch, which was major (e.g., there was extended litigation with an admirer who clapped Gould on the back.)
Unlikely that any Gould enthusiast will be disappointed with this documentary. Gould's psychological dynamic probably relates to being the only child of older parents. His deep genius, I suspect, will continue as mystery.
This in depth film - running nearly two hours - includes lots of archival film as well as interviews with nearly every person relevant to Gould's life. All of these are connected by audio and video interviews done with Gould during his lifetime.
I only knew of the artist through the award-winning film "21 short films about Glenn Gould", but he was still an enigma to me. After watching this film, I now know as much as we can hope to know about this introverted, eccentric but immensely talented musical artist.
Previously, I thought Gould's life exemplified a pattern to be avoided, a mentally unstable man who became a hypochodriac, co-dependent, overwhelmed by his own intellect and quandaries, a recluse, antisocial, who died at far too young an age needlessly. Gould seemed the antithesis of the great pianist Arthur Rubinstein, a well adjusted man who enjoyed a long life,
established a stunning, fruitful career in music, and who was a great father and husband, and found how to reach his audiences both on the concert stage and left us a legacy of fabulous recordings.
"Genius Within" provides a judicious, dispassionate look at Gould's redeeming qualities, and they were legion. A fascinating man, the first to recognize that recordings were essential and could best represent playing music as it should be played, that all musicians play differently. I would have liked to know him, and learned his eccentricities, hypochondria and mental instabilities only manifested in the last few years of his life, and were more a media creation than representative of Glenn Gould, who loved so many aspects of life. This documentary portrays views from his friends and peers, and, sharply contrasting to other DVD's I own, "32 Short Films..." and "The Alchemist", both somewhat disturbing and/or tedious, is a product I highly recommend to anyone wanting to know of Gould and more about the value of music.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked the item, but had difficulty in hearing it, the usual problem of having to turn up the volume to maximum in order to hear it..Published 1 month ago by S. Schafer
Wonderful movie about a wonderful pianist. It gives a well-rounded picture of this remarkable musician.Published 6 months ago by Hopefully Helpful
Terrific documentary of Glen Gould. The sound quality of Gould's music and the editing on this documentary is beautifully done. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Another great film about the genius that was Glenn Gould.Published 18 months ago by Dimitri Galitsis