The Red Violin movie (1998)  » Movies  »
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  • What I found an extremely clever use of story structuring was that The Red Violin is narrated by a deck of tarot cards

    • by moviesaremylife
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      (Samuel L. Jackson, Greta Scacchi, Colm Feore)

      Beauty, ambition, passion, danger, perfection, sacrifice. These are the elements that make up not only the ideal musical instrument, but also the film inspired by such a legendary piece of craftsmanship. Co-written by writer / director Francois Girard and writer / actor Don McKellar, The Red Violin is truly a masterpiece.

      Going in to see the movie, Samuel L. Jackson was the only actor I was aware of (from Pulp Fiction). Starring as Charles Morritz, Jackson plays the cultured and sly appraiser who instantly recognizes the Red Violin’s color,


      shape and value (financially, musically, and historically). How he maneuvers below the radar of those we’d assume would be equally “in the know” (the auctioneer, the director of the auction, the restorer) from initial sighting to auction block is impressive, but all parties eventually figure out the value they have at hand.

      What I found an extremely clever use of story structuring was that The Red Violin is narrated by a deck of tarot cards. The violin maker’s pregnant wife, Anna, goes to their servant, Cesca, a seer, to have her unborn baby’s future read using the deck, with cards ...


      • hand selected by Anna. With each card drawn, another piece of the narrative puzzle unfolds, and another set of characters is introduced who fall under the spell of the red violin’s hypnotism as it makes its way around the world: from an orphaned musical prodigy housed at a monastery and later adopted by a musician and inventor, to a band of grave robbing gypsies, to an cocky musical virtuoso, and finally to a secretive family in China during the cultural revolution who must guard the wooden masterpiece like no one else before them. The way this film bookends the
        story, with the creation of the violin at one end and the auction at the other (with its final resting place in Jackson’s hands), is genius, and should be studied by film students.

        Several film critics found the tight structuring to pat, too organized, but it seems they may be overlooking the idea that this organization was a kin to very various movements of a grand symphony; different, yet inclusive, carrying their own rhythm and meter, with each dependent on the others.

        The Red Violin is a masterwork from a daring writing and directing team, is greatly underrated, and should really be in every film aficionado’s collection.




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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in July, 2010. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 116071180550431/k2311a076/7.6.10
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