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The Red Violin [DVD] [1999]

Carlo Cecchi , Jean-Luc Bideau , François Girard    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
Price: £14.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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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: PAL
  • Language: English, French, German, Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Cinema Club
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Feb 2003
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004WI86
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,947 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



François Girard's The Red Violin (1998) is a good-looking but ultimately insubstantial piece from a director who seems more concerned with tone, colour and style than narrative coherence. The film traces the story of a violin originally made in 17th-century Italy, which is taken to an 18th-century monastery to be played by a child prodigy. The violin later comes into the hand of a virtuoso in 19th-century Oxford, from there to China in the Cultural Revolution and on to Montreal, where--before it can be auctioned--it is "acquired"' by Samuel L Jackson. Unfortunately, none of these stories make much of an impression: the episode in Oxford is particularly weak, with Greta Scacchi wasted, and the film is even less than the sum of its parts. Jackson is completely miscast as an expert on musical instruments, even if a criminal one. To be frank, this is a poor effort, though well photographed and with a pleasing score by composer John Corigliano performed by violinist Joshua Bell.

On the DVD:The disc contains a theatrical trailer but no other features. The soundtrack is excellent, in Dolby Surround. The image is equally good, in a 1.78:1 anamorphic print. --Ed Buscombe

Product Description

Busotti is a master craftsmen who becomes obsessed with completing the construction of a special violin when the child for which it was intended dies at birth. From these turbulent beginnings, the violin acquires a life of its own, as it is passed down the generations, stirring the passions of all those who come into contact with it. Written and directed by François Girard ('Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould').

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE POWER OF MUSIC... 10 Nov 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 vioin 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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A SENSUAL, SOULFUL, MULTI-LAYERED PLEASURE 11 Oct 2005
By Shashank Tripathi VINE VOICE
What a novel allegory for a story: a seemingly cursed but sought-after violin with a melancholy sound and unusual color meanders through three centuries of owners and as many continents before being discovered by a modern-day auctioneer.
This voyage starts a tad slowly, the first fifteen minutes had me skeptical, but when it ropes you in it really does with its vivid, poignant meditation of our relationship to beauty, our shadow-need to possess and even control it, our soul's craving to be nurtured by its radiance.
Especially memorable is the score that accompanies the mellifluous cinematography, a marvel in itself, especially the violin selections played by virtuoso Joshua Bell.
A few attempts to create the mystique of eroticism and suspense are admittedly clunky. The crone with tarot cards who foretells the violin's story looks like a character from The Princess Bride or a child's fairy tale. An episode involving Greta Scacchi as a seductive novelist who warms up a long-haired English virtuoso before his performances makes one giggle and triggers a desire to shout, "Watch out for that bow!"
But the director more than compensates for this by infusing the sort of visual splendor that rewards a discerning viewer with several captivating strands of the story that unfold only with ongoing consideration. It is a pleasure to mull the complex themes afterwards.
A most unusual film, no great action, no glorious climax, but a haunting mood around a spell-binding theme. Filmmaking of the highest order, and recommended with equal enthusiasm.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Story. 29 Jan 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It makes a change to see a film these days that have a good solid narrative with interesting twists and a nicely measured way of unfolding the plot. I really enjoyed this film.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
"Cinque carte" - five tarot cards servant Cesca (Anita Laurenzi) makes her mistress Anna Busotti (Irene Grazioli) draw in 17th century Cremona when Anna, wife of the legendary violin maker Niccolo Busotti (Carlo Cecchi), asks her servant to tell her and her unborn child's future. And those five cards, along with an auction in 20th century Montreal, provide the framework for the tale that is about to unfold: The Moon - a long life, full and rich, and a long voyage. But there is a curse over her, Cesca tells her mistress as she turns the second card; there is danger to all who are under her thrall, and there will be many ... indeed, the Hanged Man is a powerful card! Then there will be a time of lust and energy, her Lazarus soul will travel across mountains, oceans and time, and she will meet a handsome and intelligent man who will seduce her with his talents "and worse" - in short, the Devil. The fourth card Anna has drawn is Justice: There will be a big trial before a powerful magistrate, Cesca tells her; she will be found guilty ... "beware the heat of the fire!" And indeed, the last card that Anna turns, much to her alarm, is Death - but the card is upside down and Cesca tells her not to worry because at this point this might be good news: She will be carried by the air and furious wind, but then her voyage will come to an end, "one way or another." There is "trouble" in this, Cesca says, "but you are strong now, like a tree in a forest." She will also not be alone; the servant sees a crowd of faces ... friends, family, enemies, lovers and a lot of admirers fighting to win her hand (lots of money, too) - and ultimately, a rebirth. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film, excellent quality
Excellent film,excellent quality.
Published 21 days ago by Peter O
1.0 out of 5 stars Could not play it on my DVD player
Wrong version for my DVD player. Disappointed, as I have been more than satisfied with other Amazon products, Ah well.
Published 13 months ago by Peter Matthews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
This movie is touching despite some lengthiness in the middle passages. It has a special spirit throughout due to its story that follows the violin across the centuries. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mathias S.
4.0 out of 5 stars a good story about the saga of legendary Italian string instruments
Excellent fiction, but the story must resemble that of quite a few of the legendary violins produced in Italy in the XVII and XVIII centuries. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Marco Carnovale
4.0 out of 5 stars A feast for the senses ... and the everlasting magic of music.
"Cinque carte" - five tarot cards servant Cesca (Anita Laurenzi) makes her mistress Anna Busotti (Irene Grazioli) draw in 17th century Cremona when Anna, wife of the legendary... Read more
Published on 2 Nov 2008 by Themis-Athena
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT.
I had never heard of the film ,but was tempted to buy it by the great reviews it had been given.I cannot recommend this movie highly enough, great story and great acting. Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2004 by Mr. Steven Parker
4.0 out of 5 stars Red Violin
I saw this at the Toronto Film Festival 4 or 5 years ago - and thought it was fantastic. I've waited for it to come on DVD to see if it was as good as I thought or if it was just... Read more
Published on 2 Dec 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films I have ever seen
I can't say enough, it is an absolutely beautiful film. I am very hard to please, but this film has on all levels. Read more
Published on 7 Oct 2003 by Denise
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring film
I loved this film.Perhaps I'm biased because I play the violin and cello and am very interested in old instruments. Read more
Published on 13 Jun 2003 by Anna K. Newman
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