Whale of a Tale Productions

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Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould by Francois Girard (1993)

I have loved this film when it came out, it blew me away, and made me start listening the the classical piano recordings of Glenn Gould, the greatest concert pianist the world has ever known, and whose recording was including on the 2 Voyager probes. This is an amazing film, that mixes documentary interviews with people who were actually in the life of Glenn Gould, as well as as a dramatized version of this eccentric genius’s life, in an amazing performance by Colme Feore. There is even an animated film, and a film of actual x-rays taken while Gould was playing, and a film entirely about all the drugs that Gould was on, and how he shouldn’t have taken with them with each other. This film while small episodes in the life of this musician, you still get a picture of his life from giving up his career as a concert pianist and backing away into seclusion, and recordings, and finally becoming obsessed with his own death, not long before his own death. An amazing and powerful film.

The film is not a direct narrative, but it does cover the life of the amazing concert pianist Glenn Gould (Colme Feore), and through these 32 short films, encompassing narrative retellings of events in his life, and documentary interviews of people, animations and various other things that give an overall impression of this strange secluded man.

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…

We see that Gould was a genius from a very young age, with his mother playing piano to him in the womb, and he could read music before he could read, and he grew to become an amazing piano talent at a very young age. Gould after becoming the best concert pianist in the world decided to one day give it up, and to communicate his music only through recording. And that was not all, he also spent a good deal of time talking to his friends over the phone, at any hours of the day, whenever he had something he wanted to talk about, and talk is what he did, not listen.

Gould was a real recluse, and though he did write some of his own music, spent most of his time recording, trying to make his performances absolutely perfect, and yet he would hum while recording, and didn’t care about the sound of the action of the piano he played. And he also made radio documentaries about the Canadian Northern Wilderness, by mixing the sounds of all different interviews of people talking, and going back and forth between them, to give an overall feel, and not a direct story (very much like this film).

And the film goes through his life, up until his death, where he had become obsessed with his own years ticking, and I am sure all the drugs he was taking did not help keep him together, and probably it was all of his worrying that helped to cause his own death.

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A really well done film. An amazing film really, and a must see for all music lovers, and a film that will give you an appreciation of classical music.

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