Violon rouge, Le   1998   Canada The Red Violin
The Red Violin Image Cover
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Director:François Girard
Studio:Universal Studios
Writer:Don McKellar, François Girard
IMDb Rating:7.7 (16,021 votes)
Awards:Won Oscar. Another 19 wins & 13 nominations
Duration:132 min
Location:Cremona; Vienna; Oxford; Shanghai; Montreal
Languages:English, German, Italian, Mandarin, French
François Girard  ...  (Director)
Don McKellar, François Girard  ...  (Writer)
Carlo Cecchi  ...  Nicolo Bussotti (Cremona)
Irene Grazioli  ...  Anna Bussotti (Cremona)
Anita Laurenzi  ...  Cesca (Cremona)
Tommaso Puntelli  ...  Apprentice (Cremona)
Samuele Amighetti  ...  Boy (Cremona)
Jean-Luc Bideau  ...  Georges Poussin (Vienna)
Aldo Brugnini  ...  Assistant (Cremona)
Christoph Koncz  ...  Kaspar Weiss (Vienna)
Clotilde Mollet  ...  Antoinette Pussin (Vienna)
Florentín Groll  ...  Anton von Spielmann (Vienna)
Johannes Silberschneider  ...  Father Richter (Vienna)
Rainer Egger  ...  Brother Christophe (Vienna)
Paul Koeker  ...  Brother Gustav (Vienna)
Wolfgang Böck  ...  Brother Michael (Vienna)
Josef Mairginter  ...  Brother Franz (Vienna)
Alain Dostie  ...  Cinematographer
Comments: Passion Is Timeless

Summary: 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 act on the surface all the way, while failing on nearly every other level to convince. The story tells the story, revealing precious little else. The 17th-century Cremonese instrument-maker Niccolo Bussotti finishes his final violin with a curious red varnish, the secret of which spans the film, yet will come as a surprise only to the very sleepy. The odd voyage of this unique violin through history is then explored from one episode to the next, from child prodigy to gypsies to Victorian virtuoso to a clandestine enclave of art lovers in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. This is all framed by the violin's rediscovery in present day by instrument appraiser Charles Morritz (Samuel L. Jackson), for whom the perfect instrument strikes a resonant chord. The main scheme of the film, an object connecting a number of seemingly disparate stories, has been used many times, most notably in Max Ophuls's La Ronde. But while this approach is employed elsewhere to cause one scene to reverberate against another, The Red Violin is content to leave each episode thematically unconnected with any of the others. On the decorative level, the film may satisfy many viewers with its sensuous attention to tone and detail, as well as its eclectic and expertly performed score. But as narrative it is very slight. Just pierce the pretty crust of this puff pastry and gaze in wonder at the pocket of air within. --Jim Gay

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