The Violin (El Violin)
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Filmmaker Francisco Vargas makes his feature-film debut with this expansion of his well-received short film detailing the struggle between the peasants and military in 1970s-era Mexico. Don Plutarco (Angel Tavira) is a dignified elder who, along with his son Genaro (Gerardo Taracena) and grandson Lucio (Mario Garibaldi), makes his living as a traveling musician. On the side, the trio secretly smuggles weapons and supplies to the freedom fighters who are bravely attempting to overthrow the oppressive regime. When the trio returns to their hometown to find that it has been occupied by the army… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The film from first-timer Francisco Vargas puts a human face on universal suffering. It is also about the power of music, as the title instrument saves (for a while anyway) three generations of peasant men in their roles as guerrilla fighters."
‑ John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press
"A slightly meandering build-up is saved by a second half that really cooks, with Vargas ratcheting up the tension by flirting with genre convention in order to deal with Plutarco's unconventional psychological stand-off with a malodorous Captain."
‑ David Jenkins, Time Out
"An impressive debut for Mexican writer and director Francisco Vargas."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"It's all stripped down to a conflict more abstract than historical, a fable of heroic defiance in the face of brutal oppression."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"The weathered Tavina, who lost his hand in an accident at the age of 13, makes a fittingly indomitable hero. He's a character you're likely to remember - his face alone is worth a thousand words."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
"Life-or-death matters are handled with compelling gravity."
‑ John Hartl, Seattle Times
"Shot in a silvery black and white that lends a photojournalistic effect, this is not an easy film to sit through. But it will be a tough one to forget if you do."
‑ Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
"You may not remember how exactly this trio passed the time during most of the film's too-spare 98 minutes, but Plutarco is a character you likely won't forget."
‑ Tricia Olszewski, Let's Not Listen
"Francisco Vargas makes a marvellous debut with his magnificent The Violin."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Shot in luminous, high-contrast black and white, it has the rugged if faintly self-important authority of a Hemingway short story."
‑ Tim Robey, Independent
"A message this political has rarely been delivered in so poetic a form."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Tavira's acting is the high point of this suspenseful yet beautiful movie, which -- for a while at least -- proves that music can soothe the savage breast."
‑ V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"The Violin is so beautiful to look at, it almost wouldn't matter if it had a story. But it has one, and it's riveting."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Of course, there's Tavira, who, even if he never appears in another film, has left an indelible mark on cinema with his work here."
‑ Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Daily News
"A terrific debut by Vargas, who wrote, directed and produced."
‑ Anthony Quinn, Independent
More reviews for The Violin (El Violin) on Rotten Tomatoes