In El Violin, we meet Don Plutarco, a violinist, and his son and grandson, to whom he has passed a musical gift. When they're not scratching out a living on the side of some little hill at a tiny village in the Mexican or Central American countryside, they go into town to play their instruments for passersby. But they're not just simple street musicians or peasant farmers; they're rebels, involved in a resistance movement against the oppressive government. One day while they were away in town, the oppression came to their village in a military wave of destruction, rape, and murder.
El Violin is simply shot in stark black and white, giving it a classic feel. The pacing is slower than your typical war/action movie, which this story certainly could lend itself to, but the focus is more on the characters than the actors. This is a good little movie, thoroughly enjoyable with great performances, but not super memorable.
Bottom line, 2 1/2 stars.
One additional note: this move is part of the Film Movement series, which works sort of like the Book of the Month club, where they send a new movie each month. These are independent, foreign, and/or low-budget films, which have typically not been released in theaters but have played at festivals to acclaim. The Fort Worth Library has a bunch of them, so you'll get to hear about more of them here in the near future.