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32 Short Films About Glenn Gould

27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

As the title suggests, this dramatised documentary about the eccentric Canadian pianist Glenn Gould is broken up into thirty-two short films (mirroring the thirty-two part structure of Bach's 'Goldberg Variations', the recording that Gould made famous), each giving us an insight into some aspect of Gould's life and career. Out of respect for the music lead actor Colm Feore is never seen playing the piano, merely reacting to Gould's own recordings, which are extensively featured.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Colm Feore, Derek Keurvorst, Katya Ladan, Devon Anderson, Joshua Greenblatt
  • Directors: François Girard
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 20, 2001
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000544LY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,904 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "32 Short Films About Glenn Gould" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Middle School Orchestra Teacher on February 11, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first showed this to my students five years ago in one of those "after the holiday concert slump" moments.
At first, the seventh grade students were restless, similar to the German hotel chamber maid whom Gould forces to listen to his newly arrived recording. At the same moment she becomes riveted, the students became riveted. I showed the video over two days. After that, students were curious about Gould and his life and work. With the advent of the suggestion that Gould suffered from Aspberger's Syndrome (a neurological disorder with similarities to autism), some of my students were interested in learning more about people with this disability, especially their afflicted classmates.
I do need to stress, both to my students and even to some adults, that this is not truly a documentary. It is an art film. The man playing Gould is not Gould himself, but the actor Colm Feore. Many of the other people interviewed are truly portrayed by themselves, including Gould's piano technician, friends, and violinist Sir Yehudi Menuhin. Even with its questionable historic accuracy, it is a wonderful introduction to the works of one of the most highly regarded musicians of the last century.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Newman on December 19, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
When I watched this movie for the first time I had a small working knowledge of the genius of GG. This film really puts Gould's life, eccentricities and passions into a delicious nutshell. The 32 films represent a life in variations (after the Goldberg Variations: aria and 30 variations of the ground bass and aria recap). Other reviews will argue that _32 Films About Glenn Gould_ is too sporadic and uncentered, and not without justifiable ignorance. When I first saw this film I was overwhelmed by the amount of subject matter covered in such a short amount of time. Some of the sections didn't make a whole lot of sense to me at the time either. What I can tell you is that each vignette does have real meaning and attachment to the artist. In my studies since I have discovered nearly all of the connections. Any movie that can inspire you to search for more knowledge and enjoyment can only be good. If you love movies about music you will not be disappointed. Other reviewers have also argued that this is not an authenic biography about Gould. But to say that the deviations are so great as to render the movie invaluable would be a big mistake in this reviewer's opinion. Oh, by the way, this is also, without a doubt, the greatest soundtrack ever assembled for any movie. I say this not because of the material (though one could certainly make that arguement), but how the music is presented with the images on the screen. I defy anyone who watches this movie not to, at the very least, be tempted to purchase it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By KBM on April 3, 2008
Format: DVD
To dismiss Glenn Gould as a neurotic or eccentric is quite missing the point. While he was these things, he was also much more. Gould was likely one of the finest interpreters of J.S. Bach on the piano in the last 50 years. His musical output is mammoth and his technical skill almost unsurpassed. Gould is a fascinating character. Having difficulty with personal relationships, Gould left his sizable fortune to his cats. Leaving this earth too early, Gould's legacy is still felt in the musical world and will be for many generations to come.

This movie is a fascinating entre into Gould's world and into his mind. For anyone who enjoys Gould's music this movie is derigeur.

While Gould is played by an actor in the movie, Gould certainly is playing the piano. Sergei Eisenstein the great film director once said, "One should be able to see the music and hear the image." This film about Gould lets that happen.

Done in short mini-films, 32 Short Films combines to create an image of Gould much like a Bach two- or three-part invention disc does for Bach's masterpiece. Separately, each stands alone and has value and import but together a new, vivid and complete unit is formed.

Gould is so brilliant and talented-- yet self-absorbed, that he practically lives inside his head. The movie shows him having difficulty, as many brilliant artists do, in interacting in a satisfying way (to themselves and for the other) with other people. But there were moments when all the walls fell away, and all the neuroses pushed aside so that a real, yet brief connection could be made with another. There is such a moment in this film and for me it was the highlight.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By kamus on September 28, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What it isn't is a film bio/documentary. In a pointillistic, fragmentary way the filmaker allows you a sense of who Glenn Gould was in a way that I think Gould himself would have been pleased with given his own modus operandi in his radio scripts: the interaction of many voices- tiny fragments making a larger idea clearer in a way that a more prosaic approach would have failed. Best enjoyed by people who have at least a passing knowledge of who he was but an interesting and moving film by any standards. As noted by another reviewer here: more than the sum of its parts.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 21, 2001
Format: DVD
I have played and loved the piano since I was a child. Gould has always been an enigmatic force in my musical landscape. Brilliant, at times amazing, but always somehow distant.
There is no getting around his brilliance (genius is not wrongly used) and the power of his musical personality. But then there are also those interpretations that are just beyond eccentric. However, I can't help listening to them and learning from his playing. His playing is compelling even when I disagree completely - sometimes angrily.
This wonderful movie uses vignettes to tell the story of Gould, well, impressionistically. It is like a movie by Degas. A simple narrative about him would be so much more misleading.
I don't pretend to be a scholar on Gould or to even know much about his biography. But this movie lets us hear his music as well as catch some of his life. I particularly loved #6 Hamburg because it works on many levels and tells us many things about a view of Gould.
The only thing I wish is to see something like this done with footage with the real Gould. It wouldn't be as poetic, but somehow seeing the real Gould responding to music is better than even the best acting.
Just terrific! Thanks.
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