The Violin (El Violin) (2007)
Critic Consensus: Vargas makes a strong debut with The Violin, which features crisp photography, a poetic screenplay, and a breakthrough performance by Tavira.
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as Don Plutarco Hidalgo
as The Captain
as The Lieutenant
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Critic Reviews for The Violin (El Violin)
The film from first-timer Francisco Vargas puts a human face on universal suffering. It is also about the power of music, as the title instrument saves (for a while anyway) three generations of peasant men in their roles as guerrilla fighters.
Life-or-death matters are handled with compelling gravity.
A message this political has rarely been delivered in so poetic a form.
A slightly meandering build-up is saved by a second half that really cooks, with Vargas ratcheting up the tension by flirting with genre convention in order to deal with Plutarco's unconventional psychological stand-off with a malodorous Captain.
Shot in a silvery black and white that lends a photojournalistic effect, this is not an easy film to sit through. But it will be a tough one to forget if you do.
Audience Reviews for The Violin (El Violin)
[font=Century Gothic]In "The Violin," Plutarco(Angel Tavira), his son Genaro(Gerardo Taracena), and his son Lucio(Mario Garibaldi) are a trio of troubadours traveling the country attempting to simultaneously supplant their meager income working the land and fund a revolution. For those keeping track, it is Plutarco on violin, Genaro on guitar and Lucio working the tip cup. On the return to their village, the men find a new round of fleeing in progress as the army is on the way. Gerardo runs off, fearing for the safety of his wife and worrying about something he may have left behind...[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"The Violin" is a cliched movie with little context, replete with two-dimensional characters populating the landscape. It is a shame because there are some particularly good ideas that are just never developed that well, especially the relationship between Plutarco and the army captain(Dagoberto Gama). It is a nice touch that Plutarco creatively explains the peasants' struggle to his grandson as a fable but the villains of the tale turn out to be the ambitious.(Something lost in translation?) For the record, not all ambitious people are bad. What if you want to be the first person to walk on Mars? No harm in that. Or is that the peasants are good just because they are humble, a stereotype if ever there was one?[/font]
If the compelling story and the heartbreaking lead performance aren't enough reasons to see it, the photography alone, then, should be enough.
This mexican film, winner at the 2005 CANNES Film Festival, "Un Certain Regard"- Best Actor: Angel Tavira, follows Plutarco (amazing actor Don Angel Tavira), his son Genaro (played by another great actor, Gerardo Taracena) and his grandson Lucio, who lead a double life, as musicians, and as supporters of the guerrilla movement against the government. When the army invades their town, the rebels decide to escape and leave the ammo behind, so, Plutarco, taking advantage of his "inoffensive violinist" looks, treats the captain to violin music everyday, so he can go to his corn field to pick up the ammo he has hidden days before. This low-budget independent movie was filmed in its entirety in black&white and features amazing and heartwrenching performances by Don Angel Tavira, Dagoberto Gama and Gerardo Taracena, it is directed by newcomer Francisco Vargas Quevedo, whose other work include a short film, that served as base for this one, also called "El Violin". Although it opened in 2005 and 2006 around the world, it didn't open until April 2007 in its country, Mexico, because no company wanted to release it and not one theater chain wanted to show it, because of its low-budget and beacuse it wouldn't appeal to larger audiences that seek blockbusters. Like its director, Francisco Vargas said, they know more of "El Violin (Le Violon)" in France, that they do in Mexico and that's sad... Guillermo del Toro approached the mexican senate and urged them to promote films like El Violin, but they've done nothing. Luckily, Cinepolis (LatinAmerica's biggest movie theater chain) picked it up and released it in limited theaters around the country, one of hose located in Tijuana, so yesterday i got the chance to see this marvelous mexican film and it was a wonderful, raw, real experience i'll never forget and i wish for all of you to see it. Following the tradition of my friend Vince Flores, the best snack to watch this movie with is LifeSavers Gummies Bye, and support mexican cinema! Fernando :)
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