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The Violin (El violín)

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Original title
El violín
Running time
98 min.
Mexico Mexico
Francisco Vargas
Cuauhtémoc Tavira, Armando Rosas
Martín Boege Paré (B&W)
, , , ,
Camara Carnal / Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC) / Fidecine
Official Site
Synopsis / Plot
Set in a small Mexican village during the uprisings of the seventies, the film portrays the tensions between the peasants and military in the Guerrero region. Shot in stunning black and white and unfolding with a dreamlike languor, it transcends traditional social commentary. The Violin is a tribute to the curative nature of art, as well as a beautiful story about a father's love for his family and the sacrifice of an unlikely hero.

The quietly dignified Don Plutarco (Don Ángel Tavira), his son Genaro (Gerardo Taracena) and grandson Lucio (Mario Garibaldi) make a humble living as travelling musicians. They also collect supplies and ammunition for the guerrilla movement that has arisen in response to the tyrannical regime. Upon returning to their hometown after one journey, they find it has been occupied by the army and their fellow villagers have been forced into hiding. Genaro leaves to find a way to salvage the supplies. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to his son, Plutarco attempts to recover the ammunition himself and courageously approaches the squad captain (Dagoberto Gama).

The elderly Plutarco does not appear to present a threat; rather, he's a sweet, elderly man with a gift for the violin. In exchange for playing music, Plutarco is allowed to go into his cornfields, where he secretly removes cached ammunition, smuggling it bit by bit in his violin case. The visual juxtaposition of the slight old man with his weathered face and stoic expression playing exquisite music - while missing one hand, no less - to the overfed general is deeply stirring. The injustice of the situation is poetically expressed: the peasant is armed with a musical instrument, while the fatsos have the guns. The tension mounts with each meeting. How far will Plutarco be able to take this game?
2006: Ariel Awards: 3 Awards including Best First Work and Screenplay. 7 Nominations
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