Whale of a Tale Productions

A Post Production Company

The Red Violin by Francois Girard (1998)

Another incredible film by the director of 32 Short films about Glenn Gould, and an incredible film about music and musical instruments. This is a film that is a the story of a single violin and it’s story as it travels around the world from the time it was made until modern times when it is discovered. This is a gorgeous and powerful film. So well done, and a filmmaker that is obviously so passionate about music, and also such a skilled filmmaker. This is a fantastic film and an absolute must see.

This film is about the mythical red violin, and violin created by a master violinist after his wife died, and it’s journey up until Modern times. In Modern times it it is found in a shipment of violins from China that is going up for auction in Canada, and is found Charles Morritz (Samuel L. Jackson) who instantly realizes what it could be, and secretly attempts to find out, without warning the people who have it. We then see the journey of this tragic violin that always seemed to be cursed.


Red Violin

The violin was given to a monastery, where it stayed for many years, going through many hands, until it found it’s way into the hands of a young boy who was a master player, but had a bad heart. He was taken in by a man with little money, but an ear for good players, and was finally going to get his chance to be a huge player, but got so nervous he dropped dead. And the violin was buried with him, but then dug up and stolen by gypsies, where it eventually made it’s way to England, and onto the property of the famous violinist Frederick Pope (Jason Flemyng). Pope was full of himself, but was also very talented, and had a passionate love affair with a writer Victoria Byrd (Greta Scacchi). And when she left him to go writing about Russia, she returned to find him having sex with the gypsy girl, and she shot him and damaged the violin.

The violin then was stolen by Pope’s chinese manservant, and made it to china, where it was sold to a shop, and bought for a young girl who learned to play it and grew up to be a member of the communist party during the cultural revolution. This is Ziang Pei (Sylvia Chang), who has to burn all the photos of her mother playing, and all the records she has, so as not to get denounced, but she sneaks the violin off to a music teacher who has already been denounced, and is hiding instruments. When the man eventually died, the chinese government found the violin cache, and sent it off to Canada to be sold at auction.

We then go back to Charlz Moritz, who has found our more about it and even purchased a copy that was made from it. He and a technicial do more and more research, but the company begins to realize, and he must admit to it being the famous Red VIolin, and a famous violin player who couldn’t tell the quality of the instrument. Eventually Charles switches his copy for the real violin, and it gets sold on auction, and he takes it home for his daughter to play.

We also find that when the master violin players wife died giving birth, he used her blood and her hair to make the red of the violin that made it so famous.


Such an amazing and beautiful film, so well done. I wish Girard made more films, because the two I have seen are so amazingly beautiful.

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