In Paris a rare violin is up for auction – the last work of legendary violin maker Nicolò Bussotti (Carlo Cecci). This is the story of how it got there. Let’s call it A History of Violins.
The story of the 300 year old instrument straddles various timelines in a series of vignettes which take us from Italy to Austria to Oxford via Communist China. The scenes are strung together fairly loosely by a tarot card reading crone (Anita Laurenzi) in 17th Century Italy. As is typical of a film like this some of the segments are very enjoyable while others are in need of another coat of varnish.
Another problem is that as we are getting involved in a movement it jumps to the next one. The brevity of each piece means we don’t really get to know the people in each segment, so the violin itself feels like the film’s only real character, which is unfortunate given how wooden it is.
While moderately intriguing, the final act pay-off isn’t enough to make the previous 90 minutes satisfying, needing a beefier twist or revelation to be truly resonant. As such it’s a unique film with lots of nice violin music, but which is ultimately in need of some fine tuning.