Monday, May 05, 2008

El Violín (The Violin)

Quite an extraordinary film once you overcome the dark and violent beginning of the film that now I find totally justified to set the true mood where everything else happens. This first film by Francisco Vargas is exceptional because of the story it tells, the way he decided to tell it and his outstanding vision to film in black and white.

The cinematography has very good photography but even if has a slow rhythm you will hardly notice the images as the story is so powerful -as well as the performances- that soon enough you will be immersed in a thrilling sensation that will almost take you to the edge of your seat. This is quite unusual as this movie is totally art cinema, but obviously the movie buzz was spread and general audiences have opened to see this film, which makes this movie even more amazing. Just browse the net and you will find comments from viewers allover the world.

I believe that the power of the story absolutely lays in the use of music as a mean to soften the harshness of this terrible story that has happened in every country where they have indigenous guerillas fighting to protect what has always been theirs and repressive forces trying to placate them in the name of what? Progress, civilization, greed, power?

According to Vargas -who also wrote the story- he set the movie in an unnamed country with no idea of time or space so this timeless situation could symbolize the Latin American fight as a whole. Here is what he said exactly for those that understand French.

"Quand j´ai écrit mon scénario, j´ai laissé la place à un double-jeu.. D´un côté, le film fait référence à ces situations de conflits et de guérillas qui, pour le spectateur, mènent vers les luttes populaires mexicaines dans la lignée de Zapata et sa revendication " Terre, Justice et Liberté ", comme vers celles du Salvador, du Guatemala, du Nicaragua, du Chili, ou encore de la Colombie. Et d´un autre côté, j´ai construit mon histoire de façon à ce qu´on ne puisse localiser l´histoire ni dans le temps ni dans l´espace. Bien que le film fasse référence l´un ou l´autre de ces événements sociopolitiques, l´effort fut de ne s´installer dans aucun d´eux pour pouvoir faire référence à tous, afin de symboliser la lutte du peuple latino-américain dans son ensemble."

The story tells about Don Plutarco, his son Genaro and his grandson Lucio, who are rural farmers and to get extra money go to the nearest town and become street musicians. But they live a double life as they also support the peasant guerilla movement’s efforts against the oppressive government. One afternoon they come home to discover that the army seized their village and in the most thrilling way Don Plutarco that is about 70 years old –if not older- carries out his own plan to help whatever is left from his family, his village people and the guerilla. You have NO idea what this little story will make feel, truly amazing. Big chapeau to Vargas as a writer and as a director!

All performances by non-actors are very good, but Don Angel Tavira that plays Don Plutarco is absolutely amazing and he’s able to transmit such dignity and many emotions that is just wonderful. He much deserved the honor of winning the Best Actor at the 2006 Un Certain Regard where the movie was screened in competition.

According to what I read, this movie was first an award winning short that with many production-helping awards from festivals allover the world became a full-length feature that also won many honors and accolades in festivals allover the world.

Absolutely a must be seen for serious cinema lovers and for those who do not like to explore art cinema I strongly recommend this movie as an introduction to art cinema, as truly is very easy to watch.

Big Enjoy!!!

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