The Red Violin

Movie Information

In Brief: The so-called portmanteau film — a collection of stories in a single vessel — is by its very nature a tricky proposition. Even the best of them — Julien Duvivier’s Tales of Manhattan (1942), the multidirector Dead of Night (1945) — rises and falls on the quality of the individual episodes. Duvivier’s film, for example, soars in its Edward G. Robinson sequence and again in its Paul Robeson/Ethel Waters vignette, but plummets somewhere beneath sea level in the story with Ginger Rogers and Henry Fonda. French-Canadian filmmaker François Girard and co-screenwriter Don McKellar mostly circumvent this problem in the 1998 film, The Red Violin. It’s not simply that there’s no actual clunker of a story in the film’s mix (there isn’t); it’s more that they fashioned not one, but two brilliantly conceived and executed framing stories to tie the whole thing together. And it’s a good thing they did, because this may be the most ambitious portmanteau film ever made, as it traces some 300 years in the "life" of the Red Violin. This excerpt was taken from a review by Ken Hanke published on Oct. 6, 2004.
Genre: Musical Drama
Director: François Girard
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Flemyng, Grera Scacchi, Colm Feore, Jean-Luc Bideau
Rated: R

The Hendersonville Film Society will show The Red Violin on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community, 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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