CTV.ca article: Inner life of genius Glenn Gould exposed

September 3, 2009


Inner life of genius Glenn Gould exposed in new documentary

Andrea Janus, CTV.ca News

Updated: Thu. Sep. 3 2009 6:36 AM ET

A new documentary aims to show “the more human side of Glenn Gould,” a man as famous for his reclusiveness and bizarre personal habits as he was for his music.

The movie debuts later this month at the Toronto International Film Festival.

For “Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould,” co-directors Michele Hozer and Peter Raymont have compiled never-before-seen footage and interviews with friends and lovers who have never, or rarely, spoken publicly about Gould.

The film paints a portrait of Gould as funny and intelligent, but a troubled artist. He had a number of loyal friends and millions of fans, but preferred the solitude of his family’s northern Ontario cottage.

“What we were trying to do is look at the myth alongside the man, and show both sides,” Hozer said during an interview with CTV’s Canada AM.

“A lot of times you think of Glenn Gould, you think of the hat, and the scarf and the gloves, a bit of a recluse. What we wanted to try and show is the more human side of Glenn Gould. Show his genius, but at the same time show his human side.”

A number of books and films have dissected Gould, who died of a stroke in 1982 at age 50, but the documentary allows the artist and those closest to him to tell the story — there is no narrator.

While his ever-present gloves and overcoat, his constant humming while he played and his germaphobia and pill-popping make their way into the film, his friendships — and his relationships with women — are perhaps detailed here more so than ever before.

While fans and critics often wondered if Gould was gay or even asexual, it was recently revealed that the pianist had a nearly five-year love affair with artist Cornelia Foss, who was married to pianist and composer Lukas Foss.

Foss, who moved to Toronto with her two young children to be with Gould for a time before returning to her husband, describes Gould in the film as funny, engaging, intelligent, but admitted “he was solitary.”

And it’s her children, who are both interviewed for the film, who may reveal the most about Gould, Hozer says. The two affectionately recall their time in Toronto with the pianist, who doted on them, and sadly discuss their separation from him when their parents reunited.

“That was a great surprise, seeing the children, Christopher and Eliza, and how they were touched by Glenn Gould,” Hozer says. “Kids have a way of seeing through people and seeing how genuine they are, and it gives us a new layer to Glenn Gould when we see how affectionate these kids were with him.”

With this film, Hozer makes her debut as a director after a career as Gemini award-winning editor with more than 50 films under her belt. She has worked with Raymont for eight years, including on “Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire,” which won a 2007 Emmy for best documentary and the audience award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

In this, their first co-directing partnership, the duo allows the artist to tell his own story.

Numerous interview clips and home movies show off a silly sense of humour not seen by many outside of Gould’s close circle of friends. Those include a moment during a road trip when he stopped to serenade zoo animals in German before collapsing in a fit of giggles.

There is also a touching moment when a friend and collaborator recalls Gould saying he felt so close to him that he wished they could become brothers.

“We found a lot of footage and audio recordings of Glenn Gould, telling us about his hopes and his fears and his dreams,” Raymont told Canada AM. “So it’s really a new and very different side to this extraordinary Canadian.”

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.


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