Threat advisory: Under evaluation
Spanning four centuries, Red violin is a tale of one magical instrument and the fascinating people whose lives it changes forever. The treachery, lust, genius and passion that this enchanted object inspires are captured in this epic, lyrical story of love that will survive for all time.
Created by 17th-century Italian master violin-maker Nicolo Bussotti (Carlo Cecchi) as a gift for his unborn son, the violin becomes the embodiment of Bussotti's grief when tragedy strikes. But Cesca, the family's housekeeper and a reader of tarot cards, has predicted a long and adventure-filled life for Bussotti's wife Anna (Irene Grazioli), coupling her fate to the dramatic fate of the red violin.
The red violin resurfaces a century later in an Austrian monastery, where it comes into the hands of 6-year-old child prodigy Kaspar Weiss (Christoph Koncz) in 1792. Realising that the boy has an exceptional talent, the monks call in French music master Georges Poussin (Jean -Luc Bideau) to launch Kaspar's career. The maestro recognises the frail boy's musical potential and determines to find a patron to support him. But Poussin disapproves of Kaspar's emotional dependency on the violin and tries to separate them.
In England in 1893, the red violin captures the attention of Frederick Pope (Jason Flemyng), a Byronic violinist who enthralls audiences with his flamboyantly romantic musical style. Pope is equally passionate in his personal life. His affair with novelist Victoria Byrd (Greta Scacchi) becomes charged with eroticism when the red violin enters their lives, and sexual fulfillment and musical inspiration become one - until Victoria realises that the red violin has become her rival, a seductress who holds Pope in her power.
In 1965, Xiang Pei (Sylvia Chang) finds herself at the center of the maelstrom of the Chinese cultural revolution. A party official, she is expected to support the denunciation of a music teacher who is chastised for teaching a useless Western instrument - namely, the violin. Xiang Pei takes a chance and speaks up on behalf of the violinist, saving him from punishment. But she realises that she must dispose of her own "corruption", the red violin she has owned since childhood.
Thirty years later, Chinese authorities realise the value of the music teacher's collection and decide to send the instruments to an auction house in Montréal. While other experts focus on a potential Stradivarius in the collection, New York-based violin expert Charles Morritz (Samuel L Jackson), as tough as he is brilliant, concentrates on the beaten and battered red violin, conducting tests to determine if the instrument might be the lost 17th century Bussotti masterpiece.
His investigation leads him to the shocking and ultimately inspirational secret of the red violin, and he resolves that the violin will fulfill its original destiny.
Theatrical propaganda posters
Target demographic movie keyword propaganda
- Film drama violin
Persons of interest
- Carlo Cecchi .... Nicolo Bussotti (Cremona)
- Irene Grazioli .... Anna Bussotti (Cremona)
- Anita Laurenzi .... Cesca (Cremona)
- Jean-Luc Bideau .... Georges Poussin (Vienna)
- Christoph Koncz .... Kaspar Weiss (Vienna)
- Clotilde Mollet .... Antoinette Pussin (Vienna)
- Florentín Groll .... Anton von Spielmann (Vienna)
- Johannes Silberschneider .... Father Richter (Vienna)
- Rainer Egger .... Brother Christophe (Vienna)
- Paul Koeker .... Brother Gustav (Vienna)
- Wolfgang Böck .... Brother Michael (Vienna)
- Josef Mairginter .... Brother Franz (Vienna)
- Sylvia Chang .... Xiang Pei (Shanghai)
- Zifeng Liu .... Chou Yuan (Shanghai)
- Hong Tao .... Comrade Chan Gong (Shanghai)
- Xio Fei Han .... Young Ming (Shanghai)
- Samuel L Jackson .... Charles Morritz (Montréal)
- Monique Mercure .... Madame Leroux (Montréal)
- Don McKellar .... Evan Williams (Montréal)
- Ireneusz Bogajewicz .... Mr Ruselsky (Montréal)
- Julian Richings .... Nicolas Olsberg (Montréal)
- Russell Yuen .... Older Ming (Montréal)
- Sandra Oh .... Madame Ming (Montréal)
- Don McKellar .... Screenwriter
- John Corigliano .... Composer
- François Girard .... Screenwriter
- François Girard .... Director
Cinematic intelligence sources
Security censorship classification
M (Medium level sex scenes, adult themes, drug use)
132 minutes (2:12 hours)
Not for public release in Australia before date
DVD rental: 9 September 1999