Caren Weiner Campbell
December 17, 1999 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Red Violin

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
performer
Samuel L. Jackson, Greta Scacchi
director
Francois Girard
genre
Drama, Foreign Language

We gave it a B

The Red Violin Samuel L. Jackson, Greta Scacchi (1999, Universal, 131 mins., R, also on DVD) This carefully crafted, lushly romantic, frequently subtitled drama follows the titular fiddle from its creation in 17th-century Italy to Austria, England, China, and finally to a Montreal auction house. As an expert called in to assess the instrument, Jackson exudes his characteristic intensity—a bit misplaced in such a genteel tale. Biggest plus: The film’s segmented structure makes it perfect for stop-and-start video viewing. Reel Goodies (0:59) Violin as Viagra: Byronic composer Frederick Pope (Jason Flemyng) makes beautiful music with his violin as he, er, makes beautiful music with his mistress. The Last Detail Director Francois Girard is a melody-movie maven. In addition to his 1994 portrait of the Canadian pianist, Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould, he also oversaw Peter Gabriel’s concert film Secret World Live and a Canadian TV segment on cellist Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach. B

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