Country: Canada, Italy, United Kingdom
Original title: The Red Violin
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Music
Duration: 180 mn
Director: François Girard
Actors: Jason Fleming, Greta Scacchi, Don McKellar, Samuel L. Jackson…
Music written by John Corigliano, played by Joshua Bell. The story was inspired by the Red-Mendelssohn violin, owned by Elizabeth Pitcairn, violinist.
The Red Violin, Synopsis
A perfect red-colored violin inspires passion, making its way through three centuries over several owners and countries, eventually ending up at an auction where it may find a new owner.
The Red Violin, trailer
The Red Violin, Critics
The New York Times
The yarn begins at an auction in present-day Montreal where we watch the sale of a Stradivarius violin for nearly $2 million. Next up on the block is the newly restored red violin, which arrived at the auction house in a shipment of goods from China. As the bidding gets under way, the movie flashes back to late 17th-century Italy, where we see the instrument being “born” in the workshop of Bussotti, a bullying master craftsman. We also meet his extremely pregnant wife, Anna (Irene Grazioli), and Cesca (Anita Laurenzi), the eagle-eyed old servant who, on the eve of Anna’s giving birth, insists on reading her employer’s tarot cards.
[…] The movie’s giddiest set piece observes the silly romantic posturings of England’s greatest violinist, Frederick Pope (Jason Flemyng), who suggests a flouncing hybrid of Liszt, Paganini and Byron, and his George Sand-like lover, Victoria (Greta Scacchi). One scene, in which Victoria awkwardly slavers over Frederick’s half-clothed body while he plays, is unintentionally farcical.
[…] “The Red Violin” wants to make a grand statement about the mystical power (both celestial and demonic) of great music. But give or take some scattered musical moments, the frame in which that message is couched is too kitschy to let that vision catch fire.
[…] Girard tries to inject the Montreal scenes with suspense by replaying the bidding process, adding new insights every time, but the true suspense of “The Red Violin” comes not from what will happen to the instrument at the auction, but what happened to the people whose lives became part of it over the years. The most affecting scenes are those showing how Bussotti created his violin, how it made its journey from the casket of Kaspar Weiss to the garden room of Frederick Pope to the guarded loft of a teacher in Shanghai. By the time Jackson takes over the screen, the best of “The Red Violin” has passed.