The Red Violin
Canadian director Francois Girard spans 300 years in this episodic Canadian-Italian drama following a violin through various owners. Created in 1681 by the Italian master craftsman Nicolo Bussotti, the famed Red Violin is "the perfect marriage of science and beauty," according to New York authority Charles Morritz (Samuel L. Jackson). At a Montreal auction, Morritz begins an investigation into the instrument's authenticity, a linking device for the film's four stories: The first covers the Red Violin's construction by Bussotti (Carlo Cecchi), distraught after the death of his wife. In late 18th-century Austria, monks oversee orphans who are encouraged to play the Red Violin. British composer Frederick Pope (Jason Flemyng), sexually involved with novelist Victoria Byrd (Greta Scacchi), acquires the musical instrument in 1893. When Pope's Chinese servant returns to Shanghai, he carries the Red Violin with him. The concluding tale involves the fate of the Red Violin during the Cultural Revolution. Shown at 1998 film fests (Venice, Toronto). the film was a recipient of 8 Canadian Film Awards.