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The Red Violin Movie Review

From the moment the Red Violin was created, it was the most unusual of violins. Created by Nicolo Bussotti while in deep mourning, the Red Violin has a life and vibrancy about it that is unparalleled. It is the last violin Nicolo Bussotti ever made so deeply attached to his life and mourning was it. The Red Violin continues to live even after Nicolo Bussotti's death, and the film The Red Violin is the story of its life, a story that spans 300 years.

To christen its life Bussotti donates the Red Violin to an orphanage for boys Austria where it is played by one generation after the next of choirboys and student musicians. One day in 1793, the Red Violin helps a young prodigy, Kaspar Weiss. With it, Kasper enters a new life and has both good and bad experiences that will unnerve your heart when you learn Kasper's ultimate fate.

Against all odds the Red Violin then arrives is Oxford, England and is in the hands of violinist Frederick Pope. Fate deals some unlucky turns of fate to those very hands that hold the Red Violin and the next time we see it, in a condition a bit worse for wear, is in Shanghai, China, in 1960, where it falls into the hands of a little girl, who as a grown woman, plays Western masterpieces on it with deeply expressive tenderness. China's Cultural Revolution makes life a bit bumpy for Xiang Pei and her bourgeois Red Violin. Courtesy of the monetary needs of the Chinese government, the Red Violin ultimately crosses the Atlantic to an auction in Montreal, Canada in 1997.

The journeys of the Red Violin are followed by silken threads of desire and passion, which all come together in Montreal in feverish passion and greed as the different interests who have been bound to the Red Violin for over 300 years all compete against each other and new contenders for possession of the now legendary Red Violin at the auction in Montreal. Money, passion, tears, desire, trickery and deceit all come to play in Montreal as the newest owner and possessor of the Red Violin is unfolded.

This is a beautiful film with a story that is moving and emotionally riveting. Part of its fascination is it's journey from 17th century Italy to Maoist China to high-tech Montreal. Another part of its fascination is that each segment of its journey is accompanied by dialog of the locale, so we are greeted by conversations in everything from Italian to Canadian English. To add flavor, The Red Violin is developed as a series of flash-forwards, so that events in the present revolving around the all-important Montreal auction intersperse the progression of the Red Violin's life.

This is an experience of a film that you will want to see--if you are a mature adult and aren't off-put by sexuality of the R-rating type. It's not for youths, and it's definitely not for younger people.


Le violon rouge aka The Red Violin (1998)

François Girard - Director
Don McKellar & François Girard - Writers
John Corigliano - Composer
Joshua Bell, virtuoso - Solo violinist

Carlo Cecchi - Nicolo Bussotti
Irene Grazioli - Anna Bussotti
Anita Laurenzi - Cesca

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