Tuesday, August 05, 2008
El Violin - less is more
If any proof is needed that less is more it is Mexican director Francisco Vargas' 2005 debut film El Violin. The acting is superb and the direction very sensitive, but the showstopper is the high contrast black and white photography. Available on DVD and not to be missed.
There is an excellent interview with Francisco Vargas on the Twitch film site. This is his description of how music is used as a metaphor in the film - 'There’s lots of music in the film expressed in lots of different genres; but—if there is a musical term to describe this film—it is a corrido. The musical genre of Mexican corridos, with regard to the revolution, was a way of actually communicating news about things that had happened from one place to another. It was also a way of keeping memory. But most of all it was a way of liberating the spirit of the people. This was the way that the spirit of the need for change among the people was safeguarded over the years. The film starts out with a corrido and it ends with the boy Lucio singing a corrido. In fact, the corrido that Lucio is singing is a transformation that he himself has made of the corrido at the beginning and this is how the oral tradition works'.
The time and location of the story are deliberately left ambiguous but it feels very like Mexico. More Mexican musical connections here and here, and oral traditions elsewhere here.
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