El Violin review

Inspired by the Mexican peasant revolts of the 1970s, writer/director Francisco Vargas’ stark debut feature is set in a Latin American country, where the military employs brutal methods to crush a rural uprising. When elderly farmer and travelling musician Don Plutarco (Don Ángel Tavira) discover that all the inhabitants of his family’s village have been driven away by soldiers, the grandfather becomes determined to aid the rebel cause by retrieving ammunition hidden in his crops. Impressively lensed in black and white – which bolsters the prevailing sense of timelessness – this simmering fable builds to a battle of wills between Plutarco and the menacing Capitán (Dagoberto Gama). But the film’s strongest asset is octogenarian newcomer Tavira, who exudes stoic dignity.

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