Films & Schedules

  • Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

  • François Girard

100 minutes

Production Company:
Rhombus Media
Niv Fichman
François Girard, Don McKellar
Production Designer:
Charles Dunlop
Alain Dostie
Gaétan Huot
Jane Tattersall, John D. Smith, Stuart French
Glenn Gould
Principal Cast: Colm Feore, Gerry Quigley, David Hughes, Bruno Monsaingeon, Yehudi Menuhin

Canadian Distributor:
Toronto International Film Festival Group

Friday September 0503:00PM AMC 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 0503:00PM AMC 5 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

One of the most successful Canadian productions of all time (both commercially and aesthetically), François Girard's compelling Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould also retains one of the most rabid international fan bases of any film ever made in this country. It is revered by everyone from Gould aficionados to studio executives, by those who know everything about Gould to those who know next to nothing.

Part of the reason for its success is the brilliantly inventive structure devised by writers Girard and Don McKellar. Comprised of thirty-two separate pieces on Gould – the number corresponds to the structure of Bach's Goldberg Variations – which explore various aspects of his life, his career and sensibility, the film invents a kind of pop formalism that is simpatico with the structural innovations in Gould's radio work.

The film views Gould as a phenomenon and an enigma, and remains the most trenchant and comprehensive account of this mythic figure within both the Canadian cultural landscape and the world of classical music. There was something quintessentially, self-effacingly Canadian in Gould's refusal of traditional celebrity. He quit performing at a ludicrously young age, arguing that live performances were artificial and irrelevant. Yet Gould's choice was characteristically quixotic; after his “retirement,” he made countless memorable recordings and television and radio appearances.

Sumptuously photographed and designed by Alain Dostie, the film is never less than a visual feast. Another major component is, of course, Colm Feore as Gould. His performance is genuinely astounding, intimate and, somehow, mythic, capturing Gould's theatricality and love of games perfectly. Over the last year, the Glenn Gould Foundation has held numerous events to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of Gould's birth. The striking of a new print of this classic work is a fitting conclusion to the celebrations.

Steve Gravestock

François Girard was born in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec. He has directed numerous experimental shorts, music videos, video installations and feature films, as well as a number of plays and operas. Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (93) received four Genie awards, including best direction and best motion picture. His subsequent features, The Red Violin (98) and Silk (07), both screened at the Festival.

Cadillac People's Choice Award