The Red Violin – A Movie Review

A Canadian Made Film
(Thank you Cheryl Lynne for sharing this treasure with me)

Directed by Francois Geraril
Written by Francois Geraril and Don McKeller
Produced by Niv Fichman, Daniel Iron, Giannandrea Pecorelli, Barbara Shrier
Original Music by John Corilian
Violin solos played by Joshua Bell

Nicolo Bussotti: Carlo Cecchi
His wife, Anna: Irene Grazioli
Charles Morritz: Samuel L. Jackson
Xiang Pei: Sylvia Chang
Auctioneer: Colm Feore
Evan Williams: Don McKellar
Victoria Byrd: Greta Scacchi
Frederick Pope: Jason Flemyng

The Moon, The Hanged Man, The Devil, Justice, Death Reversed. This is the Tarot reading a servant gives to her very pregnant mistress, wife of a master violin maker in Renaissance Italy. The Tarot reading starts the adventure. This movie is a multilingual cinema masterpiece, being spoken in Italian, German, French, Mandarin and English (with English subtitles) as we follow the Red Violin’s life through three centuries of travel. From Cremona Italy where a master violin maker creates the violin as a gift to his unborn son, to Vienna Austria, Oxford England, Shanghi China and finally Montreal Canada. There is one geographical location and time for each card of the Tarot reading.

This movie has much to say about culture and art in society, the driving forces behind it, both humane and inhumane, like love, charity, creative passion, lust, jealousy, betrayal, greed, vanity and bigotry. It is the way it is said, as part of the overall conditions of the people in each vignette that is captivating, no up front moralizing will be found in this film. To me the movie was rich in symbolism, especially concerning women, cyclic themes and blood rituals.

The scenery, sets and costumes are breathtaking and I felt truly transported to all the places and time periods of this film. I did not recognize the Tarot deck being used, and was a little bemused at the meanings and subsequent vignettes attached to each one, but that did not take away from the magic this film wove around me. And the music!!!!! I have never been a really great lover of violin music, but the incredible sound track in this movie changed all that. I would now buy a ticket to see Joshua Bell in concert in the blink of an eye. I felt lifted to some ethereal place outside my body by this passionate sound track.

If you want a fast paced movie full of action, this film is not for you. But if you love fine music, dramatic story telling, and often breath taking cinematography, and Tarot of course, I highly recommend this film. I was able to rent this movie and buy the video cassette at our local video store , and now that we have a home theatre, it is the next DVD I am going to buy, as it has become a favourite flick to curl up with on long winters night.

© copy right 2011 by Bella Lori Gagnon
all rights reserved

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