Humanities Information

The Red Violin - Film Review

The film portrays the creation, fate, and redemption of a father's legacy to his unborn child: a violin. Nicola Bussoti, a master violin craftsman, has created the "most perfect acoustic machine," in hope of his unborn son to be a great musician. Anna, Bussoti's wife, seeks knowledge about her future through an old woman, and her ability to foresee her fate with Tarot cards. The old woman makes five predictions about Anna's future: she will travel, there will be mountains and forests; there will be sickness everywhere she goes; she will meet with a man: the devil itself; and finally the rebirth: she will be desired amongst people, where her journey will come to an end. Bussoti's wife dies, taking with her their unborn child. This event will move Nicola Bussoti to finish his creation, varnishing the violin with her wife's blood.

The red violin arises as a symbol of Ana's life and the prophecies predicted by the old woman. During the first story, when the violin finds its way to the hands of a young orphan in Austria, it seems an easy assertion that the instrument will bring death or disgrace to whoever plays it. However, a more detailed interpretation of the second prophecy-sickness will go everywhere you go-and the subsequent visions, wash away this concept. The red violin is not a carrier of disgrace, but the greed and passion of its bearers.

Although confusing on the beginning, when we see Frederick Pope fall for the enchantment of the violin, it is not this last one that seals his fate. The violin does not lead him to suicide. His demise is consequence of his own acts and decisions, as well as his Chinese servant's influence. The violin will find its way to China, where it will almost be destroyed by Mao Tse Tung's cultural prosecution. It will be kept safe by Xian Pei's high school music teacher. Neither fate nor disgrace falls upon these two characters, but only the inevitable lapse of time.

The violin finally arrives to Montreal to be appraised and auctioned: "you will be desired," said the old woman to Anna, "your journey will come to an end." Charles Morritz carries the task to authenticate the violin's precedence and craftsman. Mr. Morritz will immediately sense the true value of this object.

Is the violin a symbol of Anna's life, extended through centuries, or a supernatural object carrying her fate? Are the old woman's prophecies a curse, or a vision into Anna's future? Evidently, the film transfigures Bussoti's wife and her life into the stories depicted with the red violin. The blood covering this instrument symbolizes what Anna had left to experience, and the redemption of his husband's legacy to his unborn son. Morritz (Samuel L. Jackson) rescues the violin and clearly states his intention to give it to her daughter.

Miguel P. is a college student seeking an Associates in Applied Science, currently working full time in the IT industry. He has a passion for autmobiles, specially those powered by rotary engines. You can contact Miguel or read more material at


DO | Humanities on a Deserted Island  Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun

Humanities Division welcomes two new associate deans  University of California, Santa Cruz

The Harvard Crimson  Harvard Crimson

Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences  Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Oh, the Humanities!  Washington Free Beacon

IUP holds rededication event for Jane E. Leonard Hall  Indiana University The Penn Online

DO | On Studying the Humanities  Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun

December guide to the arts at the U  University of Miami: News@theU

home | site map
© 2006