As the title suggests, the film does not present a single narrative. Instead it presents a series of thirty-two short films. These include documentaries (five interviews with people who knew him), re-creations of scenes from Gould's life, and various odd items (such as "Gould Meets McLaren", in which animated spheres reminiscent of those in Norman McLaren's animations move to Gould's music). The thirty two short films range in length from six minutes to less than one. The form is inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations, which was Gould's first acclaimed recording.
According to Girard, "As Gould was such a complex character, the biggest problem was to find a way to look at his work and deal with his visions. The film is built of fragments, each one trying to capture an aspect of Gould. There is no way of putting Gould in one box. The film gives the viewer 32 impressions of him. I didn't want to reduce him to one dimension."
The soundtrack consists almost entirely of piano recordings by Gould. It includes pieces famously linked with him, such as Bach's Goldberg Variations, and the Well-Tempered Clavier, as well as others which are less so.
The structure and style of the The Simpsons episode "22 Short Films About Springfield" (first aired April 16, 1996), is inspired by this film. It was also used in an Animaniacs short entitled "Ten Short Films About Wakko Warner".
Mit zartem Ausdruck: Glenn Gould. (film 'Thirty Two Short Films about Glenn Gould' depicts the life of the famed pianist)
Jun 25, 1994; MOST biopics of great musicians are melodramatic affairs, with Hollywood actors struggling to simulate the throes of inspiration...