Genius Within: The Inner Life Of Glenn Gould


GENIUS WITHIN: THE INNER LIFE OF GLENN GOULD (Michèle Hozer, Peter Raymont). 109 minutes. Opens Friday (December 4). For venues, times, and trailers, see Movies. Rating: NNN

Almost 30 years after his death, legendary Canadian pianist and broadcaster Glenn Gould still grips our imagination, inspiring books, films and plays.


Dutifully rehashing old material and presenting some fascinating new bits (including footage from an amusing short Gould made in the Caribbean with Jock Carroll), directors Michèle Hozer and Peter Raymont present a balanced portrait of the man, the artist and the persona.

They hit most of the usual notes (early success with radical musical interpretations, growing neuroses and isolation), and provide insight into his personal life via interviews with painter Cornelia Foss, who took her children to live with Gould briefly during a separation from her musician husband, Lukas Foss.

There’s plenty of complexity here (Lukas Foss was of one of Gould’s idols), but the filmmakers refrain from psychoanalyzing him. Talking heads including biographer Kevin Bazzana and musician Vladimir Ashkenazy offer lots of fascinating context, but Gould not surprisingly remains enigmatic and mysterious.

The all-Gould soundtrack provides a fitting counterpoint.

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