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The Red Herring in

"The Red Violin"

The latest film of Francois Girard (whose previous major film was 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould) is not only well made - it can even be said that The Red Violin is artistically made. It is also highly entertaining. Artistic and entertaining. Can anyone ask for more?..

Yes! Standing on the threshold of a New Millennium, humanity is more confused spiritually than ever, and this film is just another proof of it. Walking out of the theater after seeing this film, one has to ask themselves how could so many of the characters have been so grotesquely attached to a simple MATERIAL object, which has no life of its own whatsoever? But then, all one has to do is to look at themselves and their own material attachments to answer that question.

The saga begins in the seventeenth century with the crafting of an extraordinarily fine violin and ends with the calculated theft of the violin at a present-day auction. At the beginning of the film, the wife of the violin maker Bussotti is about to give birth to their child. She has her fortune told by her servant, who interprets the five cards drawn by her. The wife and son both die in childbirth. The violin, which Bussotti was making for their son, supposedly takes on a life of its own as he paints it with her blood - a grievously erroneous act, which sets up a long string of attachments, myths and superstitions concerning this material object.

Actually, it would be more logical and more natural to view the entire plot structure of this film as being held together by the concept of reincarnation. It is about time that this simple fact of human existence be recognised in all its natural inevitability, like the changing of the seasons. Then the plot structure of the film becomes very simple and unified (not to mention, it then accurately reflects real life). In essence, the film follows the story of the one main character as it unfolds over several lifetimes. At the beginning we see her as a wife of a violin maker Bussotti; she is about to give birth to their child and has her fortune told by her servant, who interprets the five cards drawn by her. Her fortune is, naturally, not limited to just one earth life, but stretches over quite a few of them in different parts of the world. The violin, which Bussotti was making for their son, becomes the central object of her existence, of all her hopes and her desires. The attachment to this material object carries over from lifetime to lifetime in her various earthly incarnations until it culminates in the theft of the violin at the auction (in the incarnation as Mr. Morritz). Did the filmmaker intend for his film to be read as the sad chronicle of the repeated incarnations of a human spirit, because of a strong, intuitive attachment to the red violin? Maybe or maybe not. But it is the only point of view that corresponds to how things really work in Creation. Reincarnation is as natural a process as eating and sleeping; thus, it must now be taken seriously if human beings wish to find the way out of the labyrinth of their many errors.

Viewed from the perspective of a natural human existence, what happens to the main character in the course of the film is the OPPOSITE of progress for a human spirit in Creation, because the objective is to become FREE from all material attachments. (This is, after all, a musical instrument, which is lifeless without the human being and his or her spirit.) The fortune-teller is very much mistaken, when she tells the main character that her "journey" (i.e. her cycle of reincarnations) will end with her incarnation as Mr. Morritz, because by that point she will have become "as strong as a tree". A truly strong human spirit would never allow itself to become so enslaved by an object as to succumb to the act of stealing it. In addition, this theft opens up a new cycle of karma, which will most certainly necessitate yet another earthly incarnation unless the individual moves quickly and decisively to make immediate ammends for his action. This seems highly unlikely, since Mr. Morritz looks very pleased with himself at the end of the film and obviously considers himself perfectly justified in his behavior. And while he may "get away with it" under the earthly laws, there is no escape from the Laws of Creation for any of us: a theft is a theft is a theft. We chain ourselves to matter by directing our wishes towards earthly things, and in this way fritter away one incarnation after another without making real spiritual progress. This brings in its tracks fatal consequences, because the time will come, when those who cannot free themselves from matter will be drawn into a natural and inevitable cycle of disintegration of all matter.

How then can we free ourselves from matter? - one may wish to ask at this point. Here many misconceptions prevail. One such misconception is illustrated by the behavior of the monks in the film. When the wunderkind violinist dies, and at his funeral his teacher inquires as to what the monks have done with his priceless instrument (the red violin), they reply that they have buried the violin with the boy "so that he may play it in Heaven". This indicates NOT spiritual enlightenment, but woeful ignorance of the Laws of this Creation and of the ways, in which these Laws manifest at each particular level in Creation, including that of Paradise. Besides, the process of detachment from material objects entails NOT ABSTINENCE from their use, NOT THE GIVING AWAY of them, but the discovery of the PROPER USE of them.

But what is "proper" use? People have paid so little attention to the development of the SPIRITUAL CORES within them that by now it appears as self-evident to most: the proper use of matter to them simply means getting maximum self-enjoyment out of life and out of everything it has to offer. This cancerous philosophy of maximum self-gratification has spread all over the world, but particularly in the USA. The result is that human beings can no longer recall the true purpose for which they have incarnated here on earth. Worse than that: most of them no longer sense that there is ANOTHER PURPOSE to life than squeezing all the "pleasures" out of it. The ultimate irony is that through this chasing after "pleasures" the human spirit gives up the one true happiness, which would have come to him on the road of normal spiritual development. But the spiritual development of humanity has been anything but normal.

Is there any hope of making anyone out there see that the present day indulgent and pleasant way of life is simply the glaring evidence of SPIRITUAL DEGENERATION?! Judging by the wide-spread acclaim of the film like The Red Violin - no hope whatsoever.iIf today it were revealed that the true purpose of every earthly incarnation is to ENNOBLE and to UPLIFT ourselves and our material surroundings, the majority would probably laugh. The rest would probably imagine that they are already doing that - and then they would go on to enjoy and to recommend The Red Violin to their friends. The fact that in one of the major storylines of the film (the episode about Victoria and the violin virtuoso Frederick Pope) the violin is used as an instrument of seduction (and even as a sex prop) doesn't seem to faze anyone. And why should it? Not only music, but all arts (cinema in particular) have been drifting into the sludge of self-gratification and self-stimulation for decades now. True art, whose function it was to inspire humanity to take the road upwards to the Light, has long since exchanged this purpose for the artificial stimulation of the physical senses. Today every film is basically evaluated according to how well (how skillfully and how originally) these physical senses are stimulated by the filmmaker. And it is this skillful stimulation, which has come to be accepted as "beauty". Indeed, by now neither most filmmakers nor most viewers can distinguish between true beauty and the artificial stimulation of the physical senses. The switch between these two very different concepts has been accomplished smoothly and unnoticeably. The false lead (the red herring) has been accepted willingly and even joyfully, since now under the banner of "art" and "beauty" humanity can indulge in all sorts of weaknesses (while calling these indulgences "daring"). Cinema, which above all other arts was meant to give us images of true beauty or, at the very least, to show us the struggle of the spirit to find its way back to the Light - this art of cinema has sunk even lower than all the other arts by helping to focus the primary attention of human beings on their bodies, instead of on their spirits. In this way, under the pretense of art, millions are enticed to take the broad and easy road downwards, away from the Light. This is particularly the case with a film as skillfully and as artistically done as The Red Violin.

And yet, there is no getting around the requirement that every aspect of human activity (and every material object) must serve to UPLIFT and to SPIRITUALIZE humanity and its environment. This is not a statement of human opinion, but the irrevocable working of the Laws in Creation. Up until now humanity has been urged to follow these Laws voluntarily. But soon (very soon!) the karmic consequences (for either compliance or non-compliance) will set in for every individual with unprecedented force! This is why one can almost weep, when watching the characters of Victoria and the violin virtuoso Frederick Pope misuse the material instruments entrusted to them in this Creation. These material instruments include not only the red violin, but also their physical bodies. To discover the proper use for our bodies is not an easy task in today's world, but it DOES NOT include suppression or abstinence. It can be said that human beings have never yet made love properly, for only noble human beings can perform this act without ruining the harmony in Creation.

The violin! A noble instrument, whose invention was inspired from Above! Its music was supposed to fill us with longing for our Homeland, which lies far above the earth. This longing is unquenchable; it cannot be satisfied by anything earthly, for it is of the spirit. It can only be fulfilled IF we are able to return to the Realm, from which we have originated - the Realm of the Spirit. To misplace this precious longing through an obsession for a material object (like Mr. Morritz has for the red violin) or to misuse the violin as an object for the arousal of animalistic inclinations (like Mr. Pope and Ms. Victoria) - these are all steps downwards, which lead away from the Light to suffering and perdition.

Abandonment of the road to true SPIRITUALITY and personal ENNOBLEMENT in preference for something else will have catastrophic consequences. No amount of public approval can release human beings from the obligation to fulfill the purpose for which they have been created. The day will come, when NOBILITY and UPLIFTMENT OF THE SPIRIT will become the only criteria for human experiences in life as well as in art.

For those, who already today wish to start on this road to personal ennoblement and fulfillment of our human destiny, Great Knowledge is offered in the book "IN THE LIGHT OF TRUTH: THE GRAIL MESSAGE" by Abd-ru-shin.


copyright 1999 by Gregory and Maria Pearse