BluRay/DVD Reviews

THE VIOLIN

By • Oct 9th, 2008 •

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The violin is the instrument of Don Plutarco, a humble, elderly peasant-musician. He travels with his son and grandson across the Mexican countryside playing music and working for the underground guerilla movement that fights against an oppressive regime.

The village of Don Plutarco is seized by the military forces of the government. Their relatives are captured and kept prisoners. The ammunition, so needed by the resistance, is hidden in Don Plutarco’s cornfield.

The old man decides to fetch it by playing a deadly game with the commander of the military unit that occupies his homeland. Don Plutarco charms the captain with his music to get a permit “to check his crops.” He finds the arms at the secret place where they were left and carries as much as he can to the rebels in his violin case. The plan is working! Or so it seems.

Don Plutarco’s efforts to help the guerillas result in a tragic betrayal.

The film is shot in black and white, which emphasizes the monumentality of the story. The graphics of the picture become a very important element, underlining the gravity of the tragedy, and lending it a classic feeling.

The moderately-paced action givesviewers a chance to experience firsthand the strong tension of the cat-and-mouse game. The sincerity and na├»ve wisdom of the protagonist create an irresistible sympathy for him. It actually doesn’t matter – who and when and against whom he was fighting, the details of the conflict seem to be irrelevant, so universally true is it perceived.

The lead actor – Don Angel Tavira – is a lifelong musician (despite losing his right hand when he was 13), dedicated to the preservation of the old, traditional style. His part in Vargas’s film was his debut, and won him a best-actor prize at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

THE VIOLIN has quite a list of regalia, and it’s well deserved.

This DVD, released by Film Movement, also contains a short film “Un Bisou Pour Le Monde” (“A Kiss for the World”) by the French director Cyril Paris.

A teacher gives an assignment to her pupils: to look for the unknown words in the daily newspaper. One student tears the paper apart and is given a task of taping the page back together. The result of his handiwork is a bit different from the original version.

It’s a lovely film – a heartfelt joke about how we see what’s happening in the world on a daily basis.

The fans of independent cinema should be pleased with this worthy addition to their video libraries.

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