10 fantastic music biopics that you may not know

Films you might have missed but need to see.
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A lot of the movies on this list have been about jazz musicians. In attempting to capture something as visceral, and messy and improvisational as jazz, filmmakers often resort to oddball structures, eschewing linear narratives. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Glenn Gould was not a jazz player. He was a classical pianist who revolutionized both performance and theory throughout the middle of the 20th century.

Director Francois Girard, whose subsequent films would star Peter Gabriel (Peter Gabriel: Secret World Live), and a violin (The Red Violin), uses varied techniques through a series and interlinked vignettes to capture the unique artistic essence of the man. Colm Feore portrays Gould as a man of eclectic interests and tastes, and Girard understood full well that traditional narrative structure could not do him justice.

Incidentally, twenty years after Superstar, and fourteen years after …Glenn Gould, Todd Haynes tried a similarly fragmented approach in his Bob Dylan movie, I’m Not There. That film, which is adored by many critics, does not make my list, and it isn’t simply because I think it is already fairly well known. I just don’t think it works all that well. It seems very uneven to me, with some of the vignettes hitting home runs and others barely managing foul tips. It just goes to show that this kind of experimental structure is very difficult to pull off, even for a filmmaker as talented as Todd Haynes.

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