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32 Short Films about Glenn Gould

"32 Short Films about Glenn Gould" on DVD

Only in Canada, you say? Probably Just as Well...

You have to give the makers of "32 Short Films about Glenn Gould" credit. They took what could have been a standard bio-pic and pushed the outside of the envelope.

Unfortunately, in typical Canadian movie tradition, they worked so hard on making an important, non-mainstream film that they turned out what's ultimately a reasonably tedious cinematic experience.

Glenn Gould was an internationally-renowned Canadian concert pianist. A prodigy, a genius, stock trader and, as so often seems to happen, a bit of a weirdo.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.

The film takes a vignette approach to Gould's story, hence the "32 short films." This is an interesting idea and on the whole director Francois Girard pulls it off fairly well. Each short film looks at a different aspect of Gould's life and/or personality. Some of the vignettes are quaint, some are fascinating glimpses into the man, some are little more than straightforward talking head interviews, and some are just plain artsy fartsy.

Despite our overall feeling of ennui during the course of the movie (we found ourselves looking at the chapter stop listing to see through how many more short films we had yet to sit) you do, almost by osmosis, get a feel for the late Glenn Gould, his talent, and his life. You come away feeling as if you've learned about him as if you'd watched a documentary about the man (or an A&E episode of "Biography"), yet what you've seen is not a documentary.

That's an interesting achievement for director Girard and, despite our reservations about the film, he deserves a lot of credit for daring to be different.

The DVD gives you both widescreen and Pan&Scan formats on opposite sides of the disc. The digitally mastered video is excellent and the Dolby Digital 2 channel audio is also very good - especially the piano sections.

Extras are limited to trailers, talent files and production notes.

32 Short Films about Glenn Gould, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
94 minutes, Widescreen (1.85:1)16x9 TV compatible/Pan&Scan, Dolby Digital
Starring Colm Feore as Glenn Gould
Produced by Niv Fichman
Written by Francois Girard and Don McKellar, Directed by Francois Girard


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Updated May 13, 2006