The Red Violin

The Red Violin

Directed by Francois Gerard

Starring Samuel L Jackson

1999 in English, German, French, Italian, Cantonese with subtitles.

Nicolo Bussotti crafted a violin for his yet unborn son. His wife and child die in childbirth, and Bussotti varnishes it with her blood. Her spirit and Tarot enter the violin, and her future became its future.

The future threads through an orphanage to a troop of gypsies, an English lord, and the Chinese Cultural revolution, with the Red Violin flits dangerously near destruction in each of its adventures. When the last owner dies, the Red Violin passes to an auction house where Charles Morritz (Samuel Jackson) identifies it, lusts for it, and spirits it out from under the very nose of the auctioneer, propelling it forward to its next adventure.

Stunning cinematography, coupled with even more magnificent sound, places the violin itself as the central character in this romantic adventure. It is clearly more important than any one person who owns it or plays it. Wandering the world over, each owner places their own value on it. The violin is little Caspar Wiess’ best and only friend, the Gypsys’ entertainment as they wander, Lord Pope’s sex toy, and Xaing Pei’s connection to the civilized west as China falls into anarchy. To renowned expert Morritz, it becomes an overwhelming passion, so great he risks all to posses the instrument.

Although rather long (2 hours 10 minutes) Red Violin fascinates, entertains, and never disappoints. The soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission, and the melange of subtitles and foreign tongues never impedes the dramatic flow. Take a date — don’t waste this chance to impress someone with your arty sensibilities.

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