Along with film, I love music. I’ve written a few blogs a music in the past (mostly about the Beatles) and I love when music and film combine. Yes, I wrote about film composition not long ago, as well. Today, three of the things I love are going to intersect and I’m not sure my little heart can stand it! Film, music, and Canada.
The Canadian film industry has its ups and downs. They, perhaps, rode on the coattails of America far too long in the beginning which set them back in terms of the international market. Aside from David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan, many Canadian films are unknown. One film, which was critically acclaimed, came from a native Quebecker, François Girard, and Torontonian, Don McKellar and, in my opinion, is the best film produced in Canada. The Red Violin (1998) does not reflect on Canadian culture in the way that Strange Brew (1983) does or capture the true essence of Canada like a documentary. The film represents multiculturalism, which is something strong in Canadian culture. The moment a person crosses the border, they become a part of the cultural mosaic.
The story begins at an auction in Montréal, where an audience awaits the arrival of the famous red violin. Flashbacks encompass the mystery behind the violin and its history unfolds beginning with the violin’s inception at an Italian musical instrument workshop. Nicolo Bussoti’s pregnant wife, Anna, accepts a tarot card from her servant, Cesca, to determine if her age will interfere with childbirth. Each of the five cards revealed represent a situation Anna will endure—the first card signifies a long journey. The psychic reading is seemingly wrong as Anna dies during childbirth, but redeemed as the prediction holds true to the life of Bussoti’s blood-red violin. Each of the remaining cards resemble an experience the sequential owners of the red violin endure in Vienna, Oxford, Shanghai, and Montréal.
As the violin travels from one owner to the next, the significance of music as a universal language is evident. Each owner has a different dialect and a different history, yet the strings of the violin somehow tie the story together. I relate this to the lives of Canadians and how their cultural backgrounds are merely a side-story to the importance of functioning together to create a universal language of love, acceptance, and community in their country.
If you have not seen The Red Violin, it comes highly recommended from this blogger and lover of all things Canadian! Hopefully, somehow, this blog describes one of the deeper emotions I feel about living up north. There is so much more to Canada than “eh?”