El Violin

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The Independent Culture

'El Violin' isn't quite as depressing as its opening scenes of rape and torture might lead you to assume, but it's not far off. Its heroes are a group of Mexican rebels who return home from a mission to find that their families have been thrown out of their mountain village by military forces. The ammunition that the guerrillas need to continue their struggle is hidden in a field, and it's up to one old man and his mule to smuggle it out of the area by charming a music-loving captain with his violin-playing. Shot in black-and-white, this grim little tale has the harrowing immediacy of a news report, but it's difficult to believe that the old man's tuneless scraping would charm anyone.