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Review of the film, "The Red Violin"

By FlinkDelDinky in Culture
Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 09:04:54 AM EST
Tags: Movies (all tags)

The Red Violin is the tale of a violin that crosses the centuries as well as the continents. It's is both unique and ambitious.

It's out on Video now so if you want to know more read on.

Reviewed by Flink Del Dinky.

The The Red Violin was written by Francois Girard and Don McKellar and directed by Francois Girard. The only actor I recognized was Samuel L. Jackson.

I rented this film on video and had back to back viewings. That's something I never do. In this case I enjoyed the second viewing even more than the first.

The directing and cinematography are done well, they stayed within their abilities, their budget, or both. As such they give little to the film but nor do they get in the way or distract from the story. It's the story you'll watch it (twice) for anyway.

I also enjoyed the sets, costumes, and the performances of the many actors. I suppose the lead character is the violin itself, I think Samuel L. Jackson's character gets the most screen time. Still, his character didn't really feel like a lead, especially since his character doesn't get much screen time until the last segment of the story.

The Red Violin is a story that spans 300 or 400 hundred years and ends in the present day. It's set in Europe, China, and finally North America. It's told in Italian, German, French (a bit), Chinese, and English. All non-English language is subtitled (the sub titles are very good, the best I've seen, very easy to read). Much of the story is told in the non-English languages, and I found it added greatly to the texture of the film.

The story burns from both ends as it's literally composed from the beginning of the violins history, just prior to its 'birth', as well as from the end of the the story. It does this through flash forwards and flashbacks. Usually a lot of flash forwards and flashbacks make for a sloppy story but not in this case. It also sequences time in an odd but pleasing way within its anchor points.

It begins with a violin maker in his workshop in Italy. He has a young wife with child. The wife receives a tarot card reading from her house servant. These two locations, the workshop and the wife's tarot reading, compose the the flash forward anchor point for the story.

The anchor point for the present day is an auction in (I think) Montreal. It's from this point that the flashbacks take place.

There are many diverse stories told between these two anchor points. All inextricably weaved together in a complex tapestry of thought and emotion by this Red Violin. The film is emotionally intense but not in a laugh and cry kind of way, rather in a thoughtful, intellectual, and often profound way. I really felt for the violin and was even frightened for it a couple of times.

As I said earlier, even the sequencing of events at the anchor points is played with. If you're looking for a traditional linear story this isn't it. You have to rise to this stories level to enjoy it. You have to view it on its terms. If you can do that I think you'll be pleased with it. I certainly was.

The film just has a very high cool factor. Although the film didn't have the budget to meet it ambitions it still manages to impress.

ps. My favorite character was the child prodigy Kaspar Weiss, what do you call his style of violin music? I think I'd like to hear more like that. I also like the Gypsy stuff. I didn't like Pope's music except what he was playing at the end of his segment. I don't know about music any pointers would be welcome.


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Review of the film, "The Red Violin" | 17 comments (17 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
(Off topic... for Kuro5hin.)... (none / 0) (#2)
by tnt on Sun Apr 09, 2000 at 05:57:17 PM EST

tnt voted -1 on this story.

(Off topic... for Kuro5hin.)

     Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.
  Kuro5hin user #279

On-topic (none / 0) (#8)
by rusty on Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 09:50:04 AM EST

After all, there *is* a topic icon for movies. That pretty much makes it on-topic, I'd say. If you don't like a review, by all means vote against it. But the topic here is technology and culture, which really means "technology and/or culture" but the and/or is unwieldy for a slogan. I don't personally believe in the geek stereotype, and there are lots of readers who quite like to see stuff that isn't about linux, or even computers at all, myself included. This is not a flame, merely a clarification of what ought to be considered appropriate. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: On-topic (none / 0) (#9)
by Matthew Guenther on Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 10:31:52 AM EST

Maybe you should ditch the slogan? Or move it from the logo to a "mission statement" page. This way people wouldn't judge the validity of stories based on the slogan, but rather what the established community has already voted onto the front page.

I would like to see more culture and less tech bias as well, but people seem to be focusing on the "technology" of the slogan and judging what's appropriate without much consideration for the "culture".


[ Parent ]
No movie reviews please... (none / 0) (#1)
by skim123 on Sun Apr 09, 2000 at 08:14:09 PM EST

skim123 voted -1 on this story.

No movie reviews please

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

It's not tech culture, but culture.... (none / 0) (#6)
by cthulhu on Sun Apr 09, 2000 at 09:23:59 PM EST

cthulhu voted 1 on this story.

It's not tech culture, but culture. And FlinkDelDinky removed the spoiler. -- No one hides from the Great Old One. Not even Nyarlathotep.

I still don't care. >:( I've never ... (4.00 / 2) (#5)
by Anonymous Coward on Sun Apr 09, 2000 at 09:56:07 PM EST

Anonymous Coward voted 0 on this story.

I still don't care. >:( I've never heard of this film and even if I had, that's what IMDB.com is for - or so I thought. It might be acceptable to post some movie reviews, but only for BIG movies, like Star Wars TPM. Or copy Slashdot's style - everyone knows what movie it is that they're talking about, and most people are interested in the film. Take their advice. Do that kinda thing if you absolutely MUST make a movie review.

Re: I still don't care. >:( I've never ... (none / 0) (#7)
by rusty on Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 09:45:56 AM EST

I have to say, I dig reviews of offbeat films. If we want Jon Katz's "thoughts" on the latest mega-geek blockbuster, we all know where to find that. I like the idea that from time to time, you'll see a review of a movie that a lot of us might never have heard of otherwise, except that a reader liked it enough to write a review of it, and submit it. I don't know anyone who couldn't benefit from a little horizon-broadening now and then. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: I still don't care. >:( I've never ... (4.00 / 2) (#11)
by Anonymous Coward on Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 11:12:53 AM EST

Well, just let me turn them off then. =/

Let us filter out "Reviews" or something. "Movies."

[ Parent ]
Filtering (none / 0) (#12)
by rusty on Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 11:56:18 AM EST

There are big doings coming in this area. Stay tuned. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: Filtering (none / 0) (#13)
by dblslash on Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 12:24:21 PM EST

hrmm.. I can't say as I'm happy to hear that.

I dimly recall a comment you made, rusty, in which you disparaged Slashdot's filtering method. I believe the main argument was that any site that was so far removed from its readership that it had to allow them to block out large swaths of its content wasn't working. I thought that the point of story moderation was to let the collective decide for itself what it did and didn't like. If kuro5hin evolves into a site which includes movie reviews, then so be it. The People have Spoken. If you've got serious problems with that, download the Scoop source, and have at. The concept of a variety of topical sites all falling under the Scoop umbrella was discussed about a month ago, and I'm all for it.

Hell, www.asitewithoutmoviereviews.com is still open.


[ Parent ]

Re: Filtering (none / 0) (#14)
by ramses0 on Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 01:01:20 PM EST

Rusty might be talking about something a little less drastic... there was some comments about "sections", like sections of the newspaper being in the works, so don't worry about having to filter out "all movie reviews by jonkatz" anytime soon ;^)=

I agree though- weblogs should be accessible... when they lose accessibility, they lose their reason for being.

[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Filtering (none / 0) (#15)
by rusty on Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 01:16:12 PM EST

Exactly. Sections are still in the works, and that is what I was talking about. Basically, I'll be defining some sections that I think are the main focii of the site. The front page will always list the most recent stories, from whatever section. Users will be able to define their own homepage, as well, which lists stories from sections they're interested in, and of course they'll always be able to see stories from wherever, if they want to. So, if AC doesn't like movie reviews, he can just say "no movies on my homepage, please." The idea is less to hide stuff you don't like, as to allow particularly quick and easy access to stuff you *do* like. I don't think this will be too alienating....

Rusty, who just kicked the server's power supply and shut it off. Sorry about the blip. It'll be going on a nice safe rack very soon. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: I still don't care. >:( I've never ... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by stimuli on Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 10:35:05 AM EST

But I already know about the big hollywood blockbusters and, frankly, they are seldom enough of a surprise that I need someone to tell me what they'll be like. It is far more of a service to tell me about a really neat film that the mass markes hasn't got hold of.
-- Jeffrey Straszheim
[ Parent ]

I have... (3.33 / 3) (#17)
by Anonymous Coward on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 04:13:20 PM EST

I have NOW, though.

[ Parent ]
Ok, it seems to read slightly bette... (none / 0) (#3)
by raph on Sun Apr 09, 2000 at 11:33:14 PM EST

raph voted 1 on this story.

Ok, it seems to read slightly better now. Revision is cool. If you get a chance to see this movie on the big screen, do. The richness of the cinematography and the sound justify a better presentation than ye olde vhs.

Re: Ok, it seems to read slightly bette... (none / 0) (#16)
by FlinkDelDinky on Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 05:39:54 PM EST

I wished I had seen it on the big screen. I only picked it up at the Video store because a secretary recommended it. Even then, they only had one copy hanging out between multple coppies of hollywood hits.

If it wasn't for that secretary there's no way I would've noticed it. And that's why I wrote the review. To let people know about a good off the path flick.

[ Parent ]

Culture. Refined, even. Wow.... (none / 0) (#4)
by eann on Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 09:04:54 AM EST

eann voted 1 on this story.

Culture. Refined, even. Wow.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.

Review of the film, "The Red Violin" | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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