Sunday, July 17, 2011

856. Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993)

Running Time: 92 minutes
Directed By: Francois Girard
Written By: Francois Girard, Don McKellar
Main Cast: Colm Feore, Derek Keurvorst, Katya Ladan, Devon Anderson, Joshua Greenblatt


I've included a link in the headline of this post, because "Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould" was a different type of film, that seemed to call for a different type of review. I'm not saying I particularly liked the picture, but will admit that it's stray from the ordinary was intriguing.

Colm Feore plays Glenn Gould in a film that will be almost impossible for me to relay to you via a synopsis. For some reason I didn't think that the film would ACTUALLY be thirty-two different little short films about Glenn Gould. I'm not sure why I doubted what was made very clear in the title, I just thought that it was a title and that they couldn't possibly squeeze thirty-two short films into an hour and a half. But they did. They did tie together though and Colm Feore was always the one that played Glenn Gould in, when the character of Glenn Gould was called for. One of the shorts was purely a piece of animation. One of them was a look at the skeleton of a piano player, a piano player who was induced by drugs. One was a long take of Glenn Gould walking through a snow covered terrain. My favorite was called "The L.A. Concert", which was simply Gould walking to the stage for his final performance. It had an eerie quality to it and while I can't explain it, it WAS my favorite piece. Another good one, was a short where Gould seems to compose the conversations of the people around him, while dining in a truck stop restaurant.

This is going to be a prime candidate for a re-watch after I'm all finished with the "1001" book. I didn't care too much for the movie. In my opinion, it was far too erratic and while I applaud Girard's attempt at doing something unconventional, as opposed to a linear biopic, this film didn't really do a good job in explaining who Gould was. But then again, maybe that was the point. I mean, we all knew he was a concert pianist, but I think Gould himself was a little erratic, so maybe the film that was to be made about his life just couldn't be a linear one. The film does show that Gould was a typical artist: reclusive at times, selfish, odd, misunderstood - all the characteristics that are usually used to define a true artist. To me, the film was really intended for admirers of Gould. If you were familiar with Glenn Gould and knew of his work and of his life then you could probably watch the picture and be enthralled with it. If you weren't familiar with Gould (as I wasn't), then you may have felt a little left out in the cold. I kinda did anyway.

I can't, in good conscience, give the film a shining review or even a recommendation, but someday I would like to see it again. I think it's something that maybe I wasn't mentally prepared for. I really went in not knowing what to expect, as the title kind of threw me off and I was just thrown for a loop from the beginning. I know, that's not really a valid excuse, as I should be prepared for all sorts of oddities as I go on this journey, but it happened, so what can I say. I guess the saving grace here is that it is indeed thirty two short films about Glenn Gould and if you don't like one, you may like another. However, the style is a little off putting, in that, you can't really get lost in a film that is constantly stopping and re-starting.

RATING: 4/10 Someday I'll re-watch it, but on the surface it seems like another prime candidate for a film that could've easily been omitted from the book.


July 17, 2011 3:21pm

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