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Movie Review: Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould

Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould

GO  GENIUS WITHIN: THE INNER LIFE OF GLENN GOULD Michele Hozer and Peter Raymont's portrait of idiosyncratic Canadian piano prodigy Glenn Gould bedecks their subject's early grave with homage. Gould's ex-lovers, few true friends and biographer come forth to tell what they saw of the musician's phobic, closely guarded mind. Smitten with his iconoclastic image, this slow-rolling bio gives as much time to the genius' exterior. Early press portraits show a striking, messy 20-something who, after debuting singular Bach interpretations, became a pianist second in fame through the 1950s only to Jerry Lee Lewis. But this overwhelming performer gave no concerts in the last two decades of his life. (He died in 1982 at age 50.) Like other lone-wolf icons of his vintage, Gould withdrew — more effacingly Canadian in his eccentricity than Brando, he shied away from world tours for the gray, private, Presbyterian Toronto of his youth, for quiet affairs and incognito Northern road trips. His playing trickles over his refracted self-presentations: Inner Life shows the charming interviewee, the virtuoso incanting over his keyboard, the studio-monk audio artisan, a host of costumed alter egos in home-movie skits — while original footage has a stand-in suggesting the bundled, vagrantlike man of later years, wandering empty landscapes. Devotees will perhaps find something new in this deep pool of archival footage, while newcomers get an appropriate introduction to the beguiling charisma of a most media-savvy isolationist. (Nick Pinkerton) (Playhouse, Royal, Town Center)


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