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El Violin Review

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During the Mexican peasant revolts of the 1970s, farmer Don Ángel Tavira, son Gerardo Taracena and grandson Mario Garibaldi seek refuge with the rebels in the hills.

★★★★

Expanded from an award-winning short, Francisco Vargas’ debut is a superbly judged, neo-realist study of resistance during Mexico’s peasant revolts of the 1970s.

Driven from their village, farmer Don Ángel Tavira, son Gerardo Taracena and grandson Mario Garibaldi seek refuge with the rebels in the hills. But Tavira vows to recover the weapons cached in his fields and uses his musical virtuosity to win the respect of sadistic captain Dagoberto Gama, who’s guarding the exclusion zone.

The austere monochrome photography gives the story a gravitas that’s reinforced by the dignity of the amateur cast, with 81 year-old Tavira leaving an indelible impression come the picture’s chilling climax.

The austere monochrome photography gives the story a gravitas that’s reinforced by the dignity of the amateur cast.