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The Violin 

Francisco Vargas' 2005 feature debut is the tale of a tri-generational family of paupers whose meager appearance disguises resistance efforts opposing Mexico's oppressive military control in the 1970s. It is also, with 46 international awards to its credit, the most honored film in the history of Mexican cinema, an attribute due largely to the director's Bergman-like hand with the black-and-white palette. Shooting in blindingly high contrasts, Vargas wrests painterly images out of his stark subjects, whether in static frames of revolutionaries traversing the rural countryside or slow tracking shots of the parched earth accompanied by a sage narrator. The voice most often heard is that of Plutarco Hidalgo (Don Angel Tavira), a wizened abuelo who schools his young grandson on the ways of the world and plays violin despite having only one functional hand. His skill becomes central when a commanding officer's musical interest allows Hidalgo to use the instrument as a smuggling vessel. Tavira, an actual violinist and first-time actor, delivers a quietly moving performance that headlines a mostly nonprofessional but uniformly strong cast. Tickets $7 general admission, $6 students/seniors, $5 Zeitgeist members. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

7:30 p.m. Fri.-Mon., March 28-31; through April 3

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 827-5858; www.zeitgeistinc.net

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