This post was written by Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) member Bre Blaesing.
I went with a group of people to see The Violin last night, directed by Francisco Vargas.
“In the 1970s, a seemingly harmless violin player named Don Plutarco (Don ngel Tavira, winner of the Un Certain Regard best actor award at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival) supports the peasant movement’s armed revolt along with his son and grandson. After their village is attacked by the military in the harrowing first minutes of the film, Plutarco wins over the army captain with his music, which gets him closer to information and supplies that can help the guerrillas counterattack.”
The Violin is the best film I have seen all year, for three reasons:
- It is apart of a new and exciting film movement. Personally I am very excited for the Nuevo Cine Mexicano movement that is going on in Mexico and other Latin Countries, I am excited that it is beginning to receive some of the attention that it deserves. The film The Violin is a strong example of the anthem of emerging filmmakers from Mexico, the anthem is reflecting on misguided policy structure, economic crisis, rejection of institutions and rights for the people (not only in Mexico). In a time were consumerism and weakened policy structure is common among many countries the artist response to the abuse of power and the corruptions that come along with is a direct response to oppression all over the world.
- The filmmaking and use of close ups is stunning. Francisco Vargas ability to capture human emotion through high contrast close ups is stunning. The main character Plutarco is the hero of The Violin, throughout the film we are stunned by his wisdom and courage, often we see him reflecting on life, playing music with his grandson and passing on crucial information to the revolutionaries, we see him in high contrast at night in front of a fire the glow of the embers on his face are stunning.
- The director has positive things to say to youth filmmakers. Francisco Vargas was at the screening of the film, after the film was shown I was able to ask him if he has any words of wisdom for young filmmakers, he described the process of creating The Violin, he discussed how many people did not want him to make the film, people believed that the issues that are discussed, the political edge of it was unimportant,and that no one would care . He searched for 6 months to find the character Plutarco numerous times people told him that the character they wanted did not exist. It took them five years to make this film, and they only had 4 weeks to shot it on a very modest budget. The film has since become a blockbuster and the lead actor Plutarco, who had never acted before, won the Best Actor Award from the Cannes Film Festival. Overall he said that if you have passion no matter what people say to follow your dreams!!!
If you ever have the opportunity to see The Violin or future Francisco Vargas films make a point of doing so you will not be disappointed.
I am Youtube-ing a trailer of the film, there are not English Subtitles, however this can serve as an example of the filmmaking and to get you excited for the Nuevo Cine Mexicano.
If you are interested in reading more WACTAC reviews check out teens.walkerart.org