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Thread: The Red Violin Revisited

  1. #1
    Victor Redseal
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    Default The Red Violin Revisited

    I was watching this movie not long ago for the umpteenth time and had an epiphany that now seems so obvious to me that I feel like an idiot that it took me this long to make the connection. What bothered me was the character of Morritz--Samuel L. Jackson's character. He seemed to be the protagonist but I didn't like him. He was very knowledgeable of his work and all but he was an arrogant, mean asshat.

    I was wondering why they gave us this guy as the protagonist when he was so unlikable. Then it hit me: Morritz IS Niccolo Bussotti. A past-life thing. Then it made sense why Morritz was so powerfully drawn to the violin to the point where he swindles a world-class violinist to get it for himself. That was the other thing: he is essentially a thief who recruits a weaker-willed assistant to help him steal it. But why would this guy want to help Morritz commit this crime which would ruin his career and put him in prison--quite possibly for a long time?

    Morritz I notice has the same character as Niccolo--arrogant, unnecessarily mean towards subordinates. For example, Niccolo smashes a violin being made by an apprentice after ridiculing him in front of other apprentices and Morritz goes off on the concierge at the hotel he's staying at because she failed to deliver a package that had arrived for him some hours earlier because she was told he didn't want to be disturbed. In both cases, as each man stalks away, both turn and say something over their shoulder to the person they had been berating. No doubt about it, Niccolo and Morritz are the same person.

    That scene where the assistant is doing a sonic test on the violin suspended between some speakers and suddenly Morritz sees, in his mind's eye, a European woman--Niccolo's wife--gasping in pain and he immediately pulls the violin away from the speakers yelling, "Stop it! Stop it!" He couldn't know who this woman was but somehow he DOES know who she is and that she is very special to him and that somehow the violin is one with her. So Morritz isn't just a two-bit thief stealing a hugely expensive violin that wasn't his but rather, at some level, Morritz knows that the violin IS, in fact, his. He knows it belongs to him and he simply MUST have it.

    So does the assistant feel it too? That Morritz is connected to this violin, that somehow it belongs to him? Or is he just a weak-willed follower allowing Morritz to push him into assisting in the commission of a crime? By the way, the actor who plays the assistant co-wrote the movie.

    For example, when the violin arrives with a consignment of others from China, Morritz singles it out instantly. He immediately recognized it. And when he tricks Russelsky into playing it for him, the look that comes over his face--like he recognizes it even though he could never have heard it before. It wasn't that he had to hear it to be sure it was the Red Violin, he knew that already. He just HAD to hear it is all.

    So was this past-life angle something I was supposed to get right off the bat or no?

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    "So was this past-life angle something I was supposed to get right off the bat or no?"

    Only if one is vulnerable to the 'past life' fallacy will the insinuations be obvious.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

  4. #3
    Victor Redseal
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    I have to disagree. Who did Morritz steal the violin for? His daughter. He calls her on his cellphone from the back of a cab with the violin he has just pilfered and tells her, "I have something for you--something wonderful." And who did Niccolo tell his wife that the violin was meant for when he showed it to her? Their unborn child.

    I don't think there can be any doubt about it. Niccolo is Morritz, Morritz is Niccolo.

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    Senior Member MrTortoise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Redseal View Post
    I have to disagree. Who did Morritz steal the violin for? His daughter. He calls her on his cellphone from the back of a cab with the violin he has just pilfered and tells her, "I have something for you--something wonderful." And who did Niccolo tell his wife that the violin was meant for when he showed it to her? Their unborn child.

    I don't think there can be any doubt about it. Niccolo is Morritz, Morritz is Niccolo.
    Nicely done Victor, I was going to mention the gift of the violin to the daughter, that confirms your theory in my book.

  7. #5
    Victor Redseal
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    Once you see it that way, it becomes obvious. It explains everything.

    One thing I have been disappointed in is that there was no sequel. Surely, there needs to be. For example, it's only a matter of time before Russelsky is going to realize is Red Violin is the Pope Society's copy and it won't take him long to pin down who switched them. Go after the assistant and scare him with talk of prison and he'll fold and turn on Morritz. Russelsky would have learned it from the Chinese man who first saw the violin when his mother showed it to him in China when he was a boy. He's nearly blind and said at the auction, "If I could just hear it." But then part way through the auction, he tells his wife to stop bidding and she turns to him and says, "Are you sure?" So he clearly realized it wasn't the true Red Violin. He might tip off Russelsky who would quickly realize the man is right.

    This could set in motion a whole chain of events that would make an entertaining movie.

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    Senior Member MrTortoise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Redseal View Post
    Once you see it that way, it becomes obvious. It explains everything.

    One thing I have been disappointed in is that there was no sequel. Surely, there needs to be. For example, it's only a matter of time before Russelsky is going to realize is Red Violin is the Pope Society's copy and it won't take him long to pin down who switched them. Go after the assistant and scare him with talk of prison and he'll fold and turn on Morritz. Russelsky would have learned it from the Chinese man who first saw the violin when his mother showed it to him in China when he was a boy. He's nearly blind and said at the auction, "If I could just hear it." But then part way through the auction, he tells his wife to stop bidding and she turns to him and says, "Are you sure?" So he clearly realized it wasn't the true Red Violin. He might tip off Russelsky who would quickly realize the man is right.

    This could set in motion a whole chain of events that would make an entertaining movie.
    The plot is thickening! Maybe you should write that screenplay yourself!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Redseal View Post
    I have to disagree. Who did Morritz steal the violin for? His daughter. He calls her on his cellphone from the back of a cab with the violin he has just pilfered and tells her, "I have something for you--something wonderful." And who did Niccolo tell his wife that the violin was meant for when he showed it to her? Their unborn child.

    I don't think there can be any doubt about it. Niccolo is Morritz, Morritz is Niccolo.
    The one thing that puzzled my about the movie is that Morritz knew the history of the violin and he was giving it to his daughter? It would seem that death followed the violin, or was the daughter the intended recipient of the violin in the first place and was therefore not at risk of harm from the violin?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Redseal View Post
    Once you see it that way, it becomes obvious. It explains everything.

    One thing I have been disappointed in is that there was no sequel. Surely, there needs to be. For example, it's only a matter of time before Russelsky is going to realize is Red Violin is the Pope Society's copy and it won't take him long to pin down who switched them. Go after the assistant and scare him with talk of prison and he'll fold and turn on Morritz. Russelsky would have learned it from the Chinese man who first saw the violin when his mother showed it to him in China when he was a boy. He's nearly blind and said at the auction, "If I could just hear it." But then part way through the auction, he tells his wife to stop bidding and she turns to him and says, "Are you sure?" So he clearly realized it wasn't the true Red Violin. He might tip off Russelsky who would quickly realize the man is right.

    This could set in motion a whole chain of events that would make an entertaining movie.
    Morritz would have to be extremely arrogant to stay in the country and face discovery. If he was that smart he would take his family and leave the country. A police officer once told me, "We usually don't catch the smart ones".

    There was one point in the movie that bothered me. Niccolo took the blood from his dead wife, (who died in childbirth, as well as the child) and mixed it with the varnish to paint the violin red. But blood is water based and varnish is oil based so the two would not have mixed, or is there something I'm overlooking? In the movie this was the connection to the fortune tellers description of the travels that the wife, (in reality the violin) would take in the future.

  11. #9
    Victor Redseal
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    From what I understand, you couldn't make varnish out of blood. This was pure romantic fantasy. He also cuts off a strand of her hair to make the bow. Human hair would have lasted about 2 seconds. Well, maybe for a violin it might have worked (just guessing) but could never work for a bass. Hey, maybe they should make "The Red Bass"! Let's see the English virtuoso guy make love while playing that baby!!

    I would agree that Morritz would certainly have to leave the country. And why not? If his daughter has the talent, he'd rather enroll her at a prestigious European conservatory anyway. My instructor went to Poland a couple of years ago for his honeymoon (he's a Polish-American Catholic boy and his wife was a Polish national who became an American citizen) and they went to see a few concerts while they were there and he said they were superior to the American orchestras he's seen and played in. So, have Morritz flee to Poland or the Czech Republic or someplace like that, change his name, erase all traces of himself. Being black, though, it would be a challenge for him to blend in.

    I was thinking of having Morritz and daughter getting chased around Europe until they end up in the Italian town where Niccolo built the violin (presumably Cremona) where the people are overjoyed to be reunited with their violin and are actually grateful to Morritz for bringing it back and so hide him from the authorities. I'm not sure where to take it from there.

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    So was this past-life angle something I was supposed to get right off the bat or no?


    Hold on while get the ouija board and check with my departed ancestors.

  13. #11
    Victor Redseal
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    I was watching that "Tales from the Museum" or whatever it's called on the Travel Channel and heard an interesting story. Violinist Bronislaw Huberman had a Strad he traveled with (he traveled with two actually) when he performed. A struggling musician named Julian Altman stole it when Huberman came to New York to perform. Altman never cleaned the violin but let it accumulate dirt, sweat, oil, whatever until it was unrecognizable. He eventually got a spot in the National Symphony Orchestra and played the stolen Strad for decades. He confessed the crime to his wife on his deathbed and she returned the violin. Joshua Bell bought it in 2001 for $4 million. Bell played all the violin heard in "The Red Violin." An example of life mimicking art.

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