The Red Violin Essay, Research Paper
The Red Violin offers some interesting messages about the universality of the language of music. The acting and sets are spectacular, and the actors through the eras do very credible jobs of playing the magical violin. Lastly, the secret of the red violin’s color turns out to be an apt symbol for the level of commitment that true musical devotion demands.
“The Red Violin” takes its audience on a journey spanning five countries and three centuries. As the violin passes into five principal lives, each tells a story of both hope and greed. Violin maker Nicolo, set aside his best violin as a gift to his unborn child. His wife Anna inquires from her housekeeper and Tarot reader about the child’s life. Anna is instructed to choose five cards. As each card in interpreted, we follow the “life” of the violin as it interacts with each person who eventually possesses it. Through the tragedy of Anna and her child’s death, we learn the card reading is also for the Red Violin–call it Bussotti’s other child. Hope turns to grief as the perfect violin is all that remains of everything dear to Nicolo. Painting the violin red, he pours his anger into it. He wanted to leave as his legacy a child of great musical capacity, and through the embodiment of his violin, he did.
The Red Violin resurfaces in an Austrian monastery where it chances into the hands of a prodigy of exceptional ability–six-year-old Kaspar . In 1792, the monks summon Georges, a master of the period, to groom the child. Just as Kaspar is to perform for the patron Georges has arranged young Kaspar’s weak and frail heart fails him at his pivotal moment and promise turns to setback in a heart beat.
In 1893, in Oxford England, gypsies playing the Red Violin beckon the ear of the flamboyant romantic musician Frederick Pope. Feeling aroused to play, he summons his lover, the novelist Victoria Byrd. Seduced by the travels her novel propels her on, Russia becomes Victoria’s next conquest. Loneliness lures her back to Pope and upon returning finds him and a rival seductress engaged in the merriment of music making. Jealously takes hold and she reaches for a gun and shoots the violin.
Then, in Shanghai in 1965, the Red Violin makes its presence known in the life of Xiang Pei. Her mother, an accomplished violinist, finds the red Violin in a pawn shop where it has been for many years. Time finds Xiang in the eye of the whirlwind of the Chinese Revolution. As a party official for the denunciation of all things western (including certain musical instruments of the Red variety), she is torn between her love for said instrument of corruption and her duty as an official. She gives the violin to a music teacher upon whose behalf she intervened by saving him from punishment for teaching degrading western music that violates their rules. Sufficiently warned of the consequences, he is allowed to keep western instruments only if he uses them to perform traditional cultural tunes.
Upon the teacher’s death, his assortment of instruments is crated off to Montreal to a prestigious auction house where Charles, played by Samuel Jackson is hired to authenticate the Red Violin through a series of scientific tests in hopes it is the fabled 17th century Bussotti masterpiece. The instrument again enacts its eerie seduction, this time exacting from Morritz his personal path of destruction just as it has done in the life of each person with whom it has spent any time.
The Red Violin embodies our mortality and immortality simultaneously. We search to create something that lives beyond us so we will live our life beyond mortal life. The Red Violin showed me the value of truth and beauty. Be true to yourself and your life will be beautiful. Opening yourself to perfection opens us to immortality. Our immortal legacy is how we lived our life and the way we treated others because that’s how we’ll be remembered, forgotten, or despised. The Red Violin showed me many attitudes from many different time periods and the different cultures that the Violin went into. I would definitely recommend this movie to any student or anyone looking for a great story.