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The Red Violin (1999)

Carlo Cecchi , Jean-Luc Bideau , François Girard  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (690 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Carlo Cecchi, Jean-Luc Bideau, Christoph Koncz, Jason Flemyng, Greta Scacchi
  • Directors: François Girard
  • Writers: François Girard, Don McKellar
  • Producers: Barbara Shrier, Daniel Iron, Giannandrea Pecorelli, Niv Fichman
  • 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: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (690 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000031WD7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,785 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Red Violin" on IMDb

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  • 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
145 of 158 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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98 of 106 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "The Red Violin" Blu-Ray Review July 8, 2010
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
The first time I saw "The Red Violin" was over seven years ago. I didn't own a television at the time and watched the film instead on a ten inch monitor in a college dorm room. I had plucked the DVD from the bargain bin at the local video store for only a few dollars. I'd never heard of the film and bought it simply because I liked Samuel L. Jackson. Well, not only that, the decisive factor was that, at the time, all I had was a few dollars. So it was either this or a low budget Dolph Lundgren action flick (which I am not above, I might add). Still, I chose wisely. For two hours I was completely absorbed by the deftly told tale of a perfectly crafted violin's global journey throughout the centuries, culminating in the shockingly beautiful conclusion that ties together all the threads in a neat, satisfying tapestry.

On that note let me make this clear - were I reviewing the film itself it would be five easy stars, as it's an under appreciated contemporary classic with beautifully shot cinematography and a screenplay so moving that Ingmar Bergman wishes he had written it. The acting is top notch as well: two highlights include the real life musical prodigy Christoph Koncz's moving portrayal as his fictional counterpart Kasper Weiss and Jason Flemyng as English violin virtuoso Frederick Pope. This Blu-Ray release, however, is a half hearted attempt at giving the film a high definition transfer and giving it as much as three stars would be extreme generosity on my part. As it is, two stars is more than fair.

I owned the original Lions Gate release from that bargain bin years ago, then later upgraded to the Meridian Collection release (also by Lions Gate), which featured a slightly enhanced transfer of the film.
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71 of 76 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must see!
This is a great story! The violin affects every one it touches.
Published 2 hours ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Video and sound quality is fantastic. Purchased this mainly for the...
Video and sound quality is fantastic. Purchased this mainly for the hi-def video of blu-ray, since I had this movie on DVD, which was the first movie on DVD released with DTS... Read more
Published 1 day ago by NeverReady
5.0 out of 5 stars A Musical and Dramatic Treat
Beautiful movie, didn't like the sub-titles; but understand why it was done that way. This film has it all, culture, history and the music is wonderful.
Published 2 days ago by BettyGee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent movie. Pay attention so you don't lose the plot.
Published 5 days ago by Lisa C. Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this movie!!!
Published 5 days ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great understated movie. A must have,.
Published 5 days ago by Christine Braun
5.0 out of 5 stars Great curl in you couch and watch a story unfold movie!
Great movie and story line. It really made me appreciate the instrument itself. I hadn't really thought about the life of am instrument until watching this movie... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Sci-fi fan
5.0 out of 5 stars It is much too good for you
You don't deserve to see this movie. It is much too good for you.
Published 9 days ago by Peter Geoghegan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Super movie!
Published 11 days ago by M. Hood
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie!
Very nice movie. I love the journey of this violin and the story. It still in my mind.I recommend this movie to anyone.
Published 13 days ago by Marina Zroka
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