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Wed, Apr. 16th, 2008 | 12:59 am  slavezombie


The red violin
slavezombie
Eating my dinner in front of the TV has become somewhat of a ritual and enjoying a meal becomes somewhat difficult when the movie I want to watch contains subtitles. It's bad enough focusing on reading and missing the performance, the expressions that I've come to appreciate in actors, but when a good foreign film like this comes along, the main course might as well go out the window. This film is different in that it, like the violin, contorts itself to obligingly transform into a movie with dialog I understand. You see, it's only the first half of the film that really requires your undivided attention. The fact that the film goes rather longer than normal conveniently allows for an intermission pause while a snack is prepared.

Food was the last thing on my mind, and although I couldn't understand the French, nor the German dialog, I found myself pausing the movie when a helicopter overhead began it's descent. Of course, no helicopter, or jumbo jet, landed on my roof top, or landing pad. There wasn't an unusually low jet hovering over my house either. The cat simply needed to be let back in, and I used the moment to take care of some business. As much as the exploitation of movie structure should satisfy anybody without concern over giveaways, I'm not going to tell you how it ends.

The story unusually revolves around the different hands that have ever held a special stradivarius violin. It unfolds the birth of the instrument as the father who molds it ascribes to his wife to nurtured it. Without too much emphasis on the personal lives of the various people who've held it and made it sing, the violin itself becomes the storyteller in the way it effects the reaction of its audience when summoned to sing. This movie is the type of film that makes me ask the question "why do I even tolerate listening to rock `n roll?" It's the type of film that explains why a tune can hold the attention of even the most impatient critic alive.

Surprised at how long I waited before I finally came around to watching it, I'm adding it to my DVD collection as soon as the opportunity allows for a trip to the DVD store. A short part of the film reminded me of a scene in a film about vampires in which a little boy, standing in the courtyard of a dilapidated, old, black and white mansion makes an effort to practice his violin as though he's so bad, his parents made him practice outside. Something about violins in mafia flicks made me also wonder about death. What with vampires and organized crime, the violin has established quite a synonymous association with the concept of doom. Fearing the reaper slowly evaporated as the plot structure began an appeal to my rebellious approval.

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