The Violin Showing at the Library

  • Date(s): Wednesday, March 19th 2008
  • Time: 6:30 p.m.
  • Location: Niobrara County Library

Don Plutarco, his son Genaro and his grandson Lucio live a double life: on one hand they are musicians and humble farmers, on the other they support the campesina peasant guerilla movement’s armed efforts against the oppressive government. When the military seizes the village, the rebels flee to the sierra hills, forced to leave behind their stock of ammunition. While the guerillas organize a counter-attack, old Plutarco executes his own plan. He plays up his appearance as a harmless violin player, in order to get into the village and recover the ammunition hidden his corn field. His violin playing charms the army captain, who orders Plutarco to come back daily. Arms and music play a tenuous game of cat-and-mouse which ultimately results in painful betrayal.

The film begins at 6:30 p.m. and is 98 minutes and is Spanish with English subtitles.


The old saying that music can soothe the savage beast is both celebrated and challenged in “The Violin,” the finely crafted writing-directing debut of Mexican filmmaker Francisco Vargas. Stark but absorbing drama follows an aging musician, beautifully played by Don Angel Tavira, who fiddles his way into the front lines of Mexico’s peasant revolts during the 1970s.

Nonprofessional cast is uniformly strong, but the 81-year-old Tavira, in his acting debut (he was the subject of Vargas’ 2004 docu “Tierra caliente … se mueren los que la mueven”), inspires real affection with his enormously dignified, mildly dyspeptic characterization. His mouth perpetually downturned, his face as weathered and ruggedly expressive as the outdoor locales, Tavira’s creation of a mischievously heroic figure disguised as a harmless-looking old man is the tale’s chief satisfaction.

In a very real sense, Vargas seems to have tailored the picture specifically for Tavira, himself a lifelong violinist.

Ray Bennett/ The Hollywood Reporter – Review