The highly acclaimed and famously eccentric classical pianist Glenn Gould is the subject of this idiosyncratic film portrait. As the title suggests, Gould's life is explored through a series of thirty-two self-contained but interrelated vignettes, a structure inspired by Bach's "Goldberg Variations," the compositions that were the basis for one of Gould's most famous recordings. Fictional recreations, many starring an excellent Colm Feore as Gould, follow the musician from his precocious childhood to his early death at the age of fifty. Juicy biographical details like a surprising early retirement from public performance and an addiction to prescription drugs are featured prominently, but equal attention is paid to Gould's challenging theoretical ideas. Director Francois Girard refuses to provide easy explanations for the pianist's quirks, instead using his unconventional structure to provide great insight while suggesting the real Gould remains essentially unknowable. Especially interesting is the film's mix of dramatization and documentary, as it juxtaposes its fictional recreations with actual interviews with Gould's friends and associates.
by Judd Blaise synopsis
High Artistic Quality