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In an unnamed Latin American country that closely resembles Mexico, the government fights a rural insurgency with torture, assault, rape, and murder. Soldiers descend on a town, cutting off the rebels from their cache of ammunition hidden in a field. A family of grandfather, son, and grandson are among the rebels in the hills. The grandfather, with his violin over his shoulder, tries to pass the checkpoint, ostensibly to tend his corn crop. The commanding officer lets him pass but insists on a daily music lesson. Can the old man ferry out the ammunition in his violin case under the soldiers' nose? Written by
An old grandfather, Don Plutarco plays the violin and his son plays the guitar, while the child grandson collects some pennies in a rural poor town.
But this small peasant Indian family has double activity and face a life or death situation. And don Plutarco has a risky idea to help his son, with the only things he has, his violin, courage, and ultimately, dignity.
However the film opens with some violent scenes, the rest of the movie saves this by showing the struggle of don Plutarco to aide his family, while the Mexican army occupies the nearby hills in a mean way. It shows the conditions in which this family and its community live. And a glimpse of how perhaps the mainstream Mexican society makes business with its Indians in time of need.
To people used to graphic and loud drama, this film perhaps will not be easy to appreciate while watching it. Shot in black and white, the only music in the film is the violin of don Plutarco.
But it is the story and the superb character of don Plutarco (Angel Tavira)that make the cornerstone of the movie. This character cannot be played in a more authentic way than this. Anyone who visits any Mexican town will find a don Plutarco and his grandson in the corner or every plaza, with Tavira's humble eyes, mixed with strength and sincerity.
The film tries to show what is ignored (puposedly or not) mostly by the majority of urban Mexicans. And the decisions made and feelings that the old violinist transmits, go beyond and make this film a universal and moving story.
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