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Red Violin
Red Violin
Actors: Carlo Cecchi, Jean-Luc Bideau, Christoph Koncz, Jason Flemyng, Greta Scacchi
Director: François Girard
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2003     2hr 10min

Mounted in high lavish style, from the opening strains to coda, The Red Violin pays homage to the careful uses of color and composition without bothering to support these qualities with any real substance. Oh, it's a class...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Carlo Cecchi, Jean-Luc Bideau, Christoph Koncz, Jason Flemyng, Greta Scacchi
Director: François Girard
Creators: Alain Dostie, François Girard, Barbara Shrier, Daniel Iron, Giannandrea Pecorelli, Niv Fichman, Don McKellar
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Lions Gate
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 05/20/2003
Original Release Date: 06/11/1999
Theatrical Release Date: 06/11/1999
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 10min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French, German, Italian
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Movie Reviews

Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 10/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a superb film in which the star of the film is a violin known as "The Red Violin'. It is a story that begins in Italy in the late seventeenth century and ends in the twentieth century. The violin is crafted by an Italian violin maker for his unborn child and is a work of sheer love. The viewer sees this distinctive red violin travel in time, as it becomes an integral part of the life of a variety of owners, transcending culture, race, class, and talent. It ultimately ends up as an offering at an auction house.

The story is told in a series of intricately woven vignettes that are justaposed to the past and present in a series of well placed flash backs and flash forwards. The past is set in seventeenth century Italy, where the viewer sees what happens to a master violin maker's beautiful pregnant wife and unborn child. The present is set in the twentieth century at a posh auction house in Montreal, Canada, where a host of characters, who have a connection to the red violin's extraordinary and mysterious past, have gathered to bid upon it.

The film is a lushly beautiful one due to its notable cinematography. The music is exquisite, its impressive soundtrack made so by the superlative playing of violinist, Joshua Bell. The acting is uniformly stellar. The vignette of nineteenth century Victorian England virtuoso, Frederick Pope (Jason Flemyng), is wildly sensuous and erotic. There is even an quality of mysticism about the film, as the story in Italy begins with a fortune teller's predictions, which the violin maker's pregnant wife mistakenly thinks is about her, when in reality the fortuneteller is foretelling the future that lies in store for the red violin.

In the twentieth century, Charles Morritz (Samuel L. Jackson) is an expert violin appraiser who has an appreciation of the now legendary red violin and covets it. While authenticating it for the auction house, he learns the secret of the distinctive red varnish that earns this instrument its sobriquet, though the viewer will, no doubt, guess its origin, long before he does. Morritz also does something that ensures that the red violin will stay with one who appreciates its value, so that the violin will have almost come full circle. In the end, all the elements come together beautifully, as the director, Francois Girard, deftly and seamlessly, weaves the violin's past with its present. There is not one discordant note in this richly complex and brilliant film. It is simply a masterpeice. Bravo!"
Passion and Music
kerridv | Redmond, Wa | 04/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Fans of the French piece "Tous les Matins du Monde" (Alain Corneau, 1991) will enjoy this creation of French-Canadian Director Francois Girard, whose prior forays into film include documentaries involving Bach Cello suites and television specials starring cellist Yo-Yo Ma. It's no wonder then that Girard was able to capture the sheer majesty and fascination of the violin; in this film we follow this captivation through the centuries. Samuel L. Jackson plays Charles Morritz, an expert in antique musical instruments. The story opens with Morritz' arrival at an auction, where a very significant and unique Bussotti violin is being sold. As the film flashbacks throughout periods of time in the violin's history, we visit its making in Cremona, Italy, its burial in the hands of a young Austrian prodigy, the musical career of a Victorian virtuoso, and its banishment from Revolutionist China. As Morritz studies the famous instrument, he unearths deep secrets about its origin, and must face the ultimate dilemma himself: "What do you do when the thing you most wanted, so perfect, just comes?"The music, composed by John Corigliano, won the 1999 Academy Award for Best Score. Violinist Joshua Bell (who also starred in the 1999 film Music of the Heart, playing himself) provides the music of the Red Violin, and was able to capture the different centuries as if he had played in them himself. The part of the Austrian music teacher Georges Poussin, played by Jean-Luc Bideau, is especially delightful in its comedic undertones; also not to be missed is the tarot card reader who is setting up the story; her role ties the film together and gives it the continuity needed in this kind of format. Overall it is a very engaging film full of passion, music, and history."
C.S.R.G. | University Park, MD United States | 01/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rarely do I see a movie where my mind does not wander, or where I cannot guess the "secret." The Red Violin, however, is a totally engrossing film which both held me in place and in suspense.The Red Violin's story is a simple one, using basic plot points as the basis of a life for the title character. Born of tragedy, then sea-tossed through three centuries and countless countries, the Red Violin vicariously experiences birth, death, ressurection, destructive passion, and survival-against-the-odds through the lives of its owners. The owners themselves, spellbound by the beauty of this "acoustically perfect instrument," become its enthralled "lovers."The true genius of this film is found in its structure: each vignette begins with a brief focus on one of it's new potential owners, seen at a modern-day auction. The scene then shifts back to the Violin's late 17th century birthplace, where a tarot reader turns a card and interprets a phase of the violin's life. The audience is then tossed into that phase described, where the new owner takes possession of the Italian instrument (and vice versa). Finally, the film returns to the auctioneer, and the audience discovers the connection of the potential buyer with the Red Violin's turbulent history. The director has played with in media res structure, reshuffling it and standardizing it for his purpose. One caveat: Don't be dissuaded by the personification; the filmmakers' touch is feather-lite, restricted to 1. a tune seemingly hummed by the violin into the ear of its various owner/lovers, and 2. the Seer's interpretaion of a "life" for the Red Violin.It is a good series of stories, well-told and perfectly blended. A "perfectly tuned" movie."
The gift of love, the gift of music
Annamaria Blue | Atlanta, GA | 01/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"How could I not love this movie? - It is so full of beauty, so full of love and the entire spectrum of human emotions. It has suspense and mystery. There is the beautiful music, of course, and the beautiful photography presenting us with wonderful sceneries and what appear to be perfect snapshots into historic times and places. Then there is the unique way in which the story pogresses. We are not merely following the life of this masterfully constructed violin through the centuries. Each time we jump to another time and place we also return to the presence where the violin is part of an auction of musical instruments of extraordinary value. And each time we are confronted with the presence we see just a little bit more of the auction and all the events surrounding it. Thus we march not only through time but also follow Samuel L. Jackson in his attempt to verify that he is indeed dealing with the famous "Red Violin". As much as I enjoyed the way the story was woven, as much as I loved the music, as much as I feasted my eyes, I was even more moved by the films message, - a message of love. There is a father who wants to give his yet unborn child all of his love and the gift of music. As a violin maker he does this the best way he knows how - in the form of an instrument. The perfect violin. Perfect because it will hold all the love he feels for his wife and all the love he already feels for his child, all of his wishes, and dreams for his child, all of his plans and thoughts. When he looses them both during the child's birth he can't help but to also put all of his sorrow and pain into the violin. Over the centuries, in one way or another, the knowledge, the wisdom and all the emotions contained in this perfect instrument influence its players and owners, - the violin, in turn, absorbs their feelings and emotions. And while the maker of this violin was never able to give this gift of love and music to his child, the violin's destiny may yet be fulfilled. Find out out for yourself, by watching this wonderful film."