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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Movie Info

Filmmaker Francisco Vargas makes his feature-film debut with this expansion of his well-received short film detailing the struggle between the peasants and military in 1970s-era Mexico. Don Plutarco (Angel Tavira) is a dignified elder who, along with his son Genaro (Gerardo Taracena) and grandson Lucio (Mario Garibaldi), makes his living as a traveling musician. On the side, the trio secretly smuggles weapons and supplies to the freedom fighters who are bravely attempting to overthrow the oppressive regime. When the trio returns to their hometown to find that it has been occupied by the army in their absence and the villagers have been forced to flee, Genaro departs in hopes of salvaging their supplies while Plutarco boldly approaches the squad captain (Dagoberto Gama) with the intention of personally recovering the ammunition on the sly. An outwardly harmless old man who convinces the captain to allow him access to the cornfields in exchange for playing music, Plutarco slowly but surely begins smuggling the ammunition back into the village in his violin case as the unsuspecting military man ravenously gorges himself into oblivion.
Art House & International , Drama
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Critic Reviews for The Violin (El Violin)

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (9)

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.

Full Review… | March 7, 2008
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Life-or-death matters are handled with compelling gravity.

February 8, 2008
Seattle Times
Top Critic

A message this political has rarely been delivered in so poetic a form.

Full Review… | January 4, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | January 3, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | December 7, 2007
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Tavira's acting is the high point of this suspenseful yet beautiful movie, which -- for a while at least -- proves that music can soothe the savage breast.

Full Review… | December 5, 2007
New York Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Violin (El Violin)

(****): [img][/img] Well-acted, written, and directed. A film that you will not easily forget.


[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]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

If the compelling story and the heartbreaking lead performance aren't enough reasons to see it, the photography alone, then, should be enough.

Quinto Wallight
Quinto Wallight

Super Reviewer

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