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The Violin

In this affecting drama, an elderly Mexican man engages his violin in a guerrilla war.

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Francisco Vargas Quevedo's languid, black-and-white, politically inspired drama about peasant guerrilla fighters in rural Mexico recalls the genre's antecedents of the 1960s. The battle is significant -- the film opens with a violent torture scene -- but the struggle is writ small, cast in the deceptively frail form of the elderly campesino Plutarco. He tends to his young grandson, plays his violin (with only one good hand!) for both the guerillas and sympathetic federales, and negotiates a heartbreakingly fine path between art and war. Ángel Tavira is remarkable as Plutarco, whose impassive, deeply lined face nonetheless speaks volumes. In Spanish, with subtitles. Starts Fri., Jan. 25. Regent Square [capsule review]

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