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The Red Violin (1999)

Carlo Cecchi , Irene Grazioli , François Girard  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (639 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Carlo Cecchi, Irene Grazioli, Anita Laurenzi, Tommaso Puntelli, Samuele Amighetti
  • Directors: François Girard
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: April 18, 2000
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (639 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000031WD7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,226 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Red Violin" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Parental Lock
  • "Soundtrack Presentation" (Advertisement For Soundtrack)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Mounted in high lavish style, from the opening strains to coda, The Red Violin pays homage to the careful uses of color and composition without bothering to support these qualities with any real substance. Oh, it's a class act on the surface all the way, while failing on nearly every other level to convince. The story tells the story, revealing precious little else. The 17th-century Cremonese instrument-maker Niccolo Bussotti finishes his final violin with a curious red varnish, the secret of which spans the film, yet will come as a surprise only to the very sleepy. The odd voyage of this unique violin through history is then explored from one episode to the next, from child prodigy to gypsies to Victorian virtuoso to a clandestine enclave of art lovers in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. This is all framed by the violin's rediscovery in present day by instrument appraiser Charles Morritz (Samuel L. Jackson), for whom the perfect instrument strikes a resonant chord. The main scheme of the film, an object connecting a number of seemingly disparate stories, has been used many times, most notably in Max Ophuls's La Ronde. But while this approach is employed elsewhere to cause one scene to reverberate against another, The Red Violin is content to leave each episode thematically unconnected with any of the others. On the decorative level, the film may satisfy many viewers with its sensuous attention to tone and detail, as well as its eclectic and expertly performed score. But as narrative it is very slight. Just pierce the pretty crust of this puff pastry and gaze in wonder at the pocket of air within. --Jim Gay

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
142 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE POWER OF MUSIC... October 5, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This is a superb film in which the star of the film is a violin known as "The Red Violin'. It is a story that begins in Italy in the late seventeenth century and ends in the twentieth century. The violin is crafted by an Italian violin maker for his unborn child and is a work of sheer love. The viewer sees this distinctive red violin travel in time, as it becomes an integral part of the life of a variety of owners, transcending culture, race, class, and talent. It ultimately ends up as an offering at an auction house.

The story is told in a series of intricately woven vignettes that are justaposed to the past and present in a series of well placed flash backs and flash forwards. The past is set in seventeenth century Italy, where the viewer sees what happens to a master violin maker's beautiful pregnant wife and unborn child. The present is set in the twentieth century at a posh auction house in Montreal, Canada, where a host of characters, who have a connection to the red violin's extraordinary and mysterious past, have gathered to bid upon it.

The film is a lushly beautiful one due to its notable cinematography. The music is exquisite, its impressive soundtrack made so by the superlative playing of violinist, Joshua Bell. The acting is uniformly stellar. The vignette of nineteenth century Victorian England virtuoso, Frederick Pope (Jason Flemyng), is wildly sensuous and erotic. There is even an quality of mysticism about the film, as the story in Italy begins with a fortune teller's predictions, which the violin maker's pregnant wife mistakenly thinks is about her, when in reality the fortuneteller is foretelling the future that lies in store for the red violin.

In the twentieth century, Charles Morritz (Samuel L.
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passion and Music April 10, 2000
By kerridv
Format:DVD
Fans of the French piece "Tous les Matins du Monde" (Alain Corneau, 1991) will enjoy this creation of French-Canadian Director Francois Girard, whose prior forays into film include documentaries involving Bach Cello suites and television specials starring cellist Yo-Yo Ma. It's no wonder then that Girard was able to capture the sheer majesty and fascination of the violin; in this film we follow this captivation through the centuries. Samuel L. Jackson plays Charles Morritz, an expert in antique musical instruments. The story opens with Morritz' arrival at an auction, where a very significant and unique Bussotti violin is being sold. As the film flashbacks throughout periods of time in the violin's history, we visit its making in Cremona, Italy, its burial in the hands of a young Austrian prodigy, the musical career of a Victorian virtuoso, and its banishment from Revolutionist China. As Morritz studies the famous instrument, he unearths deep secrets about its origin, and must face the ultimate dilemma himself: "What do you do when the thing you most wanted, so perfect, just comes?"
The music, composed by John Corigliano, won the 1999 Academy Award for Best Score. Violinist Joshua Bell (who also starred in the 1999 film Music of the Heart, playing himself) provides the music of the Red Violin, and was able to capture the different centuries as if he had played in them himself. The part of the Austrian music teacher Georges Poussin, played by Jean-Luc Bideau, is especially delightful in its comedic undertones; also not to be missed is the tarot card reader who is setting up the story; her role ties the film together and gives it the continuity needed in this kind of format. Overall it is a very engaging film full of passion, music, and history.
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96 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meridan Collection--Superb transfer to DVD June 9, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This review pertains to the June 2008 release of the Meridian Collection remastering of "The Red Violin". This well-crafted saga of how a priceless, one-of-a-kind violin is passed onto various owners over time and in several countries, has been beautifully remastered. Presented in anamorphic widescreen and enchanced for widescreen TVs (16x9 aspect ratio, no black bars--the picture fills the entire screen), the picture is crystal clear and the colors are fresh and vibrant.

I viewed this DVD on a 46-inch Samsung LCD high definition TV, played on a Toshiba 1080p HD DVD player--and the picture and sound are stunning. If you play this DVD on a player that can "upconvert" a regular DVD (such as this release),the resulting image is already high definition--no need for a separate Blu-ray or HD DVD edtion.

The movie is itself, is of course, quite engaging and has more of a European/foreign film flair about it. The only well-known American movie star in this film is Samuel Jackson, who, although he is somewhat miscast in this role (as other reviewers have also noted), still manages to make his character believable--his inclusion in this movie was not a train wreck for me. The rest of the cast is quite good, although likely to be largely unknown to American audiences. If you appreciate beautiful violin music, accurate and elaborate period sets, other cultures and foreign languages (English subtitles are provided)--then you will love this film.

The "R" rating for this film could have easily been avoided. There are two brief scences in one segement of the story involving partial nudity, one of which is a sex scene (involving the violin, no less), but these scenes are not graphic or violent--one of them is actually more like a pose ("caught in the act" as it were).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie
The music and story line are excellent, a great job in showing the history of an instrument.
Really interesting that there is a real life parallel to the story.
Published 4 days ago by Dudley Roberts
4.0 out of 5 stars Sub Titles
Not much for movies with sub titles. Getting older and can always read them fast enough but over all this was a great movie.
Published 5 days ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
The movie starts a little slow but builds as you understand the plot. Samuel Jackson was not the greatest casting choice (some un-natural parts) but it is the story that hooks you. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Martin Callado
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!!!!!
Will never get tired of this movie. This was the first movie that my husband and I saw together and we love watching it every once in a while as it takes us back to the day we fell... Read more
Published 8 days ago by kevin howe
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre, but looked good
The story is interesting, but there was an artificiality about it. Each part had a clean and an excessively antiseptic look. Read more
Published 9 days ago by SnapDoc
3.0 out of 5 stars Saw it years ago...on TV. it us still good!
Saw this movie years ago on tv. It held my attention then and still does. IT was good the second time around. I just wish that the selection is better from amazon. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Charles A. Seijo
5.0 out of 5 stars A great historical tale
An excellent film. The plot follows a violin, the masterpiece of a renown Italian craftsman, as it travels to the Hapsburg Empire, Victorian England and China during the Cultural... Read more
Published 16 days ago by James D. Crabtree
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Good Movie about Fiddles
This is one of those epic "small" movies you'll watch again and again. Revealing look into instrument making, violin playing and the eddies and currents of time.
Published 18 days ago by Joseph G. Falco
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story line, beautiful music
I had seen these movie years ago and recently saw it again on TV and decided to purchase the Blu-Ray. The movie has a very interesting story line of a violin. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Sergio L. Aponte
5.0 out of 5 stars One Instrument, Many Lives, One Soul
The movie is one of my favorites. I seem to get more out of it with every viewing. After reading of a Stradivarius violin festival held in Los Angeles this weekend (Strad Fest... Read more
Published 18 days ago by W. Powell
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