The Red Violin (1998) Script

Very good.

Exquisitely worked. You've created a jewel, my boy.

Perfect for a courtesan or priest to pluck after supper, or polish Sundays after mass.

In other words... this violin will never bear my name.

Put your anger into your work, my boy.

Stay with me and learn.

1 million. 1,600,000.


Bids to all now, at 1,600,000--


1,650,000. 1,675,000.

Is that a bid, sir? Don't be shy.

All right then, I'll take it. 1,700,000.

1,725,000. 1,725,000.

1,750,000. Thank you.

The bid is $1,750,000.

1,775,000 on my left. Mr. Morritz.

Please don't let me forget this.

1,775,000 on my left.

Against the telephone now.

Against you, sir. 1,775,000.

1,810,000? 1,810,000.

1,850,000. 1,875,000 on my left.

In the room--


1,920,000 in the room.

Yes, I got you, sir. 1,940,000.

Not yours, ma'am. Neither of yours.


I'll take 10.

Do you want back in, sir? Is that a yes? No?

The Stradivarius now at $1,940,000.

1,950,000 on my left.

Down to you two.

1,950,000. Not yours, sir?

Not yours? 1,950,000.

All done then?

Fair warning.

I'm selling now at $1,950,000.

And sold to the lady on my left.

The last sale of the evening, lot number 72, on the turntable there.

The star of the night-- and-- where is she?

The last violin of Niccolò Bussotti, 1 681.

A masterpiece of the Golden Age.

And, if she will give us the pleasure.

And here she is now, lot 72, the so-called Red Violin.

At this time the last order bid is at $250,000.

A lot of interest here, of course.

So, now let's open the floor and who will start us off?

260,000. Good evening, Mr. Ruselsky.



Cesca, can you still see the future?

Are you all right?

Sit down.

Did you call me? I was in the garden.

I can come here, can't I? Of course.

This is part of my house. Of course, madame.

I have... some new amulets and bones for you.

If your husband spits on them, it will help.

Are you hungry?

Don't eat that, it's fish.


Your child will be slow to learn.

I also have some stones for you... and a key to wear around your neck.

My husband's tired of spitting.

Spitting's what men are good for.

A father's saliva-- the best thing he can give.

Cesca... tell me my child's future.

I can't do that.

Don't worry about my husband.

It's not your husband.

I'm simply not able to do it.

I see.

Until the baby is born... your humors are one.


I can read your future.

No, I told you, I'm scared.

Come on, madame.

Five cards.

It's only the future.

What if it's bad?

I'll pretend not to see it.

Tell me everything.

The moon.

You'll live... a long life, full and rich.

There's-- there's travel ahead.

I see... a long journey.


Leave us.

Close the door.

What is it?

Why do you come here in your condition?

I know I'll find you here. What is it?

I talked to Cesca. And?

She read my future.

Cesca! Dear God!

And the birth, she said, will be very difficult, and painful.

They always are.

This is no prediction! We're talking about me!

Why do you listen to Cesca? She is our servant.

I have an excellent midwife, an astrologer, a doctor.

They'll all be there. It will be perfect.

I know. How do you know?

I know.

I'm too old to be having a baby.

This is a violin.

It's different. I still have to varnish it.

But there's something--

It's perfect.

Everything else here is junk... worthy of a peddler, or the trash heap.

But this is my masterpiece.

I made it for our son, Anna.

Our son will be a musician.

He'll live for music.

He'll bring us pride, and beauty to the world.

I wanted to surprise you, but you see...

I can also make predictions.

It's too big for a baby.

He'll grow.

My child will come when the moon is full.

Come to bed.

You're jealous of our relationship.

Me and the moon.

No, I'm not jealous.

I know you'll come back.

Master, a boy is asking for you.

Tell him to go away.

He won't, sir. The doctor sent him.

I think you'd better come.

Your wife, sir-- the doctor--

What is it? She's not well.

Having the baby.

Get out.

Get out! Leave me alone, for God's sake!



Is that a bid, sir? Don't be shy. I'll take it.

1,700,000-- Excuse me, Mr. Ruselsky.


The Stradivarius now at 1,725,000.

Paul at 1,750,000.

1,775,000 on the left.

Against the telephone now. Against you, sir.

1,775,000. 1,810,000.

1,810,000. 1,850,000.

1,850,000. 1,875,000.

1,900,000-- Son of a bitch.

He knows nothing. Who? Who?



1,950,000 on the left.

All done then?

I'm selling now at $1,950,000.

And sold to the lady on my left.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, the last sale of the evening, Iot number 72, the star of the night-- where is she?

The last violin of Niccolò Bussotti, 1 681.

A masterpiece of the Golden Age.

If she will give us the pleasure.

And there she is now, lot number 72, the so-called Red Violin.

The last order bid is at $250,000.

Who will start us off? 260,000.

Good evening, Mr. Ruselsky.

You must clean the violin every day.

Care for it well.

This is your violin for as long as you're at the orphanage.

A curse hangs over you, madame.

Danger to those who come under your thrall.

And there will be many... many.

It is a powerful card, the Hanged Man.

I see-- I see danger... infirmity and disease.

I'm sorry, but what kind I can't say.

There are many kinds of sickness.

These roads, Brother Christophe!

You've no idea what I've endured. And why such haste?

What is so urgent it couldn't wait until my next visit?

We have a boy, sir.

You have many boys!

This boy is a miracle. You'll see.

Vienna swarms with miracles.

Not like him.

We felt you should see him at once.

Does he speak French?

No, sir. Unfortunately.

All your students should learn French.

It's the language of music.

It hones the ear and elevates the mind!

Monsieur Poussin... this is Kaspar Weiss.

What violin is this?

I haven't seen it before.

We've had it for 100 years.

Far too big for him.

Look at his hands.

He should play on a child's violin.

Even Mozart...

God rest his soul, played in Versailles... on a child's violin.

No shame in that.

Wouldn't you like a smaller instrument?

He seems to manage.

Let him try.

Play, my boy.


I see.

Monsieur Poussin?

We're prepared to offer a small sum to help him in his study.

They say you're a good boy, well-mannered and clean.

Glad to hear it.

But you don't like vegetables.

Is that so?

Yes, sir.

What don't you like?

Carrots, sir... and beans and cabbage--

These monks can't cook.

They also write you've a weak heart.

Is that so?

You must have a strong heart to play the violin.

Believe me.

And stronger still to live in Vienna.

You shall see. Vienna is an infuriating city... infuriating, but magnificent.

Magnificent... this city!


May I present to you...

Kaspar Weiss.

One of the most gifted children on earth.

But, Georges, we can't--

My wife, Antoinette Poussin.

Good afternoon, Kaspar.

How nice to meet you.

Go on in, I'll show you your room in a minute.

Georges, please. We can't afford to keep him!

We can't afford not to.

There's something about your playing that eludes me.

I've decided to analyze it systematically... with a scientific method.

First... your bowing... and your left hand phrasing.

Your détaché, ornamentation and your taste.

And theory!

Theory, too, is important.

You need a lot more than inspiration to play the violin.

You need method. You must think... and work.

Won't you eat?

You must eat!

Did you want something else?

Try this cheese. I think you'll like it.

It's French!

Try some. Taste it.

You'll see, a little different from the monks' crumbly cheese!

Go on!

Kaspar... if you play well, you'll enjoy the finest fare.

We can't afford coal, let alone food!

Sell your jewelry! Sell your David!

Besides he voted to behead the king, the monster!

My boy... play well, and there will be cheese.

Violin... cheese.

May I go to my room now?

Go ahead. And sleep well.

Madame will assist you in your prayers.

Why speak French?

He doesn't understand. So he'll learn!

I want them to know who taught him!

Good morning, Poussin.

I pride myself on visiting the Taufer Orphanage three times a year to offer my services as a teacher, as a gesture of support for those good men of the cloth.

This year, they called early.

I was skeptical, but... when this child raised his bow... when he played his first note, well, Baron von Spielmann...

I knew my prayers had been answered.

You've unearthed another Wunderkind.

I've no money for you, Poussin.

I have no concerts to offer you.

It isn't the money.

I suggest you find another patron.

Must I beg?

Isn't that what you're doing?


I am.

In three weeks...

I'm holding a private audition at my salon.

Prince Mannsfeld is leaving... for Prussia... and seeks a prodigy to accompany him.

He must hear this boy.

Three weeks. Can you be ready? Truthfully?

I could be ready tomorrow.

Be very certain, Poussin.

If you embarrass me again--

I've charmed the crowned heads of France.

Where are those heads now?

Rolling in the gutters of the new Republic!

No, no, no, no!

The first phrase, the entire section, must be played staccato.

A modern style, well and good, but let's not be crude.

You liked it, didn't you?

Yes. I'm delighted.

You're going to play it again and again and again.

See this? It's a clockwork chronometer, of my invention.

It's called the Poussin-meter.

You will heed it with the same deference you would me.

What you just played corresponds to a tempo... like this.

Each day, as we progress we shall push down this little ball one notch.

Until finally, in three weeks, you'll be playing like this.

The world will be yours.

Antoinette, there's something I still don't understand.

His violin has a wonderful sound, and a lovely form.

Of course, it's Italian.

Is it very valuable?

Why do you ask?

Well, we could pay the rent, if ever--

He will play divinely, my dear.

Can't you trust me?

Yes, of course I can.

But must he sleep with it? He could roll over on it.


He sleeps with it?

Straight, proud. Lift your chin. There.

Perfect, your bow. You're clutching.

Your body's stiff, your elbow's locked.

I knew something was holding you back.

Something, but I didn't know what. Now it's totally clear.

You're oppressed by your violin. It has you completely enslaved.

Look at you. There, very good.

If you want to advance, Kaspar Weiss, you must let go.

What do you mean, sir? I don't understand.

Antoinette tells me you sleep with your violin.

Tonight you'll sleep by yourself.

Without the violin.

Without your violin.

Thank you for coming so quickly.

Thank you so much, Doctor. Good night.

Feeling better?

Yes, thank you.

The doctor says that your heart must have stopped for a minute.

I'm sorry.

It's all right, but we don't want it to happen again.

Were you worried?

Were you nervous about the audition?

It will be just fine.

You know that, don't you? Georges!

I know, I know.

Kaspar, we want to tell you, you don't have to do it if you don't want to.

You don't have to play.

I don't?

We can cancel the audition.

We'll manage, somehow.

It's better than making you sick, do you see?

You don't have to be famous.




I'm sick.

I want to be famous.

Sir, I really do.

That's my boy.

I'm very proud of you.

I want you to rest, relax.

Madame Poussin will bring a visitor you like very much.

Thank you, madame.


There you go!

We better sleep now.

Tomorrow's going to be a busy day.


And now, backwards. Are you ready?

Rejected! The shame!

Kaspar Weiss.

Kaspar Weiss, violin!

Play the best you can.

Play your best.

Master Poussin and his protégé, Kaspar Weiss.


Come closer.

So you're the wild child I've heard all about.

An orphan raised by monks.

If you prefer, we can call in the next.

There's the son of--

No, no.

How charming to think a monastery has actually produced something-- something worthwhile.

That's a lovely instrument you have.

May I see it?

May I see it, my boy?

Is it for sale?

I'd give you a good price for it.

He's very attached to his instrument.

So I see.

Perhaps after he's played--

Of course, let him play. I might take him, too.

Come, play for me.

Won't you play something for me? Please.


Just play for him, son.


Monsieur Poussin?

On behalf of the brothers I thank you for the generosity you showed Kaspar.

He takes with him the many gifts you gave him.

I did what I could.

Would you honor us by sharing our modest supper?

It's very kind of you, but my wife awaits me, all of Vienna awaits me.

Of course, we understand.

I do have one question.


The violin.


What will become of it?

I'm sorry, I thought you knew.

Naturally you were foremost in our thoughts.

After all the time and energy you invested it would be wrong to give it to another child.

Yes, of course.

So we buried it with the boy.

He can play it in heaven.

Yes, quite right.

And then I see a time of life, a time of lust and energy, Ioosed across mountains and oceans and time.

Confusing, madame, I know.

But I see it.

I'm certain.

Yours is a Lazarus soul.

Yes, I see.

Put her through, will you?

We're on hold.

You should tell her our story. Explain its past.

Brother, please, she doesn't care. She's doing her job.

But if you convince her--

Father Victor.

Good morning. Good morning.

This is Suzanne.

They're just closing on lot 71.

Can you hear the auctioneer?

Sold to the lady on the left.

Yes, I can hear him.

Suzanne, how do I tell you when I want to bid?

Leave it to me, sir. Just tell me when you want to stop.

A masterpiece of the Golden Age.

And, if she will give us the pleasure.

I feel helpless. Isn't there something we can do?


We can pray.

Auctioneer:...interest here, of course.

Last order bid at $250,000.

So, now let's open the floor and who will start us off?

260,000. Good evening, Mr. Ruselsky.

270,000. Suzanne on the telephone.

280,000. Back to you, sir.

300,000. I see you, Suzanne. Against your caller now.

And then... a man comes into your life-- a handsome man-- and intelligent.

He'll seduce you with his talent and worse.

In short... he's the Devil.

What a marvelous violin.

What do you want?

I was lured by the music. It drew me across the heath.

Oh, yes?

Maybe you can go back the same way.

I'm your host. This is my land.

Now I see, my mistake.

We will not be a trouble.

We'll be leaving here by nightfall.

That won't be necessary.

I'm sure we can come to some arrangement.

Excuse me, sir?

I must ask you to leave.

We have an invitation.

You can read?

Personal invitation.

Evening, Percy. Good evening, ma'am.

He's in the dressing room, warming up.

Not without me, I hope.


I need you.

I feel a composition coming on.

So do I.

Ladies and gentlemen, if I can have your attention.

Mr. Pope has asked me to announce that he will be performing this afternoon on an antique instrument of the Italian school, which has revitalized his affections for the violin.

I... hope that whets your appetite somewhat.

Mr. Pope, sir, whenever you're--

Oh, darling. ready.

I'd like to play for you a new composition, which came to me recently in a moment of... inspiration.

'How did it come to this?

Saints in heaven, how did it happen to him?

An artist who could not be denied.

A poet in fact. But a murderer.


Yet the looking-glass image was hard to refute.

His fingers and cuffs were still ruddy with gore.

And as he watched, in horror...

the speckles of blood seemed to multiply before his eyes like maggots on a fetid corpse.

And what would become of him now?

Where would he run to and where would he hide?

The options just then were depressingly few.

Indeed his mind was already racing east across the frozen continent--' Darling.

'and over the frozen steppes--'


'back to the refuge of his childhood estate.'

I have a theme I want to work out.

''To Russia,' he heard the Cossack call.'

It needs to be addressed.

Can't you see I'm trying to work?

You're so selfish.

It was mutual inspiration I had in mind.

Can't you see I don't need any? I was writing here like--

My love, don't be angry.

Oh, please. You've only yourself to blame.

It's your beauty that summons the music.

And when it comes...

I must play.

Damn you.

Is this what you wanted?

Is this what you wanted?

'East-- east across the frozen continent and over the frozen steppes, back to the refuge of his childhood estate.

'To Russia-- to Russia,' he heard the Cossack call.'

Frederick. My darling.

My one inspiration.

I have something terrible to tell you.


The worst.

It must be most terrible for you to tell me now and ruin this perfect moment.

Jack has killed the minister.

It was an accident.

I see.

He's now fled to Russia.

Self-imposed exile.

I see.

You're leaving me.

I've never been there and I don't know what to write I have to follow him. I can't go, I've concerts.

I know, darling.

Are you very angry?

Why should I be?

'Dearest Frederick, I've just passed the church near Charrington, where Jeffrey was baptized and I'm quickly approaching the Rutherford bridge.

In other words, darling, we have parted for under 1 0 minutes and already I'm lost.

I return to my writing in the hope that these few honest words might rejoin our lips...' 'Darling Victoria,'

'...bring back your hands to my shivering skin.'

'You trust in words in the comfort of letters in a way that I simply do not.

And no matter the language, no words can convince me that you are not gone--' 'Frederick, my love, it's Moscow at last and my very first night was unspeakably dreary.

Can any one nation be quite so abysmal--'

'What is this nonsense? ' 'Or is it just simply that you are not here? ' 'Do not expect me to sigh for your woes.

If everything truly is as it is more than you say, then heed my simple remedy.' 'Frederick--'

'Return at once--' 'darling, I long for your touch.

I still seek your scent on my clothes.'

'Come to me now. I will free you.

I should have pinned you to the mattress when last I had the chance. Like you were the butterfly, I was the pin.'

'...embroidered together, heart against heart.'

'Victoria, listen, our moment is dying... What is this nonsense...?

The music has come... Like you were the butterfly...

Everything precious is passing, my love...

For everything I said to you and everything I might ever say could be contained in these two words-- come back, Victoria.

Come back.'

Do not write to me anymore, love.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience and understanding.

Unfortunately, I have just received notice that Mr. Pope has been... afflicted by an illness, and unfortunately, cannot be with us today.

Of course, we will refund those who desire, but for those who do stay, we are pleased to play my arrangement of favorite English madrigals.

'Darling Frederick, I have seen the truth at last.

Eternity has passed since we were parted.

One full week without your letters and I am shriveling here like a flower in the desert.

I will not suffer more.

I'm not reading, as well as not writing and you'll miss this crucial report.

I'm coming back, my love, by any means I can, tomorrow morning if I'm able.

And then, will you forgive me, my love?

The wasted time, my selfish folly.

Will you take me in your arms again?

And with one kiss eradicate each hour apart from your embrace.

I long for you, love.

I long for your touch and constant heart.



Extreme, rude, cruel.

Oh, not to trust. Victoria.

You sluttish muse. Who is she?

Quiet! Victoria, please.

Don't try to explain.

It's not your fault.

Or yours.

Victoria. Listen.

'Do not despair, Victoria.

This is the last page of our correspondence.

I'm only writing to let you know of my plans for suicide, by poison or drowning, I have yet to decide.

All my estate I'm leaving to you.

I have some personal debts that I intend to honor but everything else will be yours to dispose of.

Do with it what you will.

It matters little to me.

Regretfully yours, Frederick.'

I'm dying.

I'm dying.

Do you know anything about music?

Have you heard of Frederick Pope? Lord Frederick Pope, composer, genius.

The only goddamn virtuoso that the nation of England ever came up with.

In a few minutes, his violin is gonna be sold and if I don't get there because of your driving or this goddamn traffic, I'm going to lose my precious testicles.

Do you understand? I'm going to be castrated.

Please hurry.

It's there, Duval's.

That's it?

Why didn't you tell me?

I need a receipt.

Hello. Nicholas Olsberg.

I'm late. Yes, you are.

Please don't let me forget this.

Olsberg, Nicholas.

I registered by telephone.

Check again under Pope Foundation.


The last violin of Niccolò Bussotti--

Here we are. Please sign.

There you are.

Here she is now, lot number 72, the so-called Red Violin.

The last order bid is at $250,000.

So we'll open the floor and who will start us off?

260,000. Good evening, Mr. Ruselsky.

270,000. Suzanne here on the telephone.

280,000. Back to you, sir.

300,000 at the back of the room, thank you.

320,000. Suzanne, I see you.

400,000 at the back of the hall. 400,000--

Darling, come here.

Do you like it?


There will be a trial.

A great trial... before a powerful magistrate.

And you-- you will be guilty.


Beware the heat of the fire!

Comrade Chan Gong has come from Beijing.

Welcome her, please.

Comrades, students, revolutionary companions-in-arms...

I give you my proletarian salute.

I congratulate you on today's grand festival for which you have worked so hard.

Your cultural unit has done exceptional work.

I would also commend you on the children's presentation.

It made my heart rejoice.

The story of 'The Three Heroic Girls' was a vivid lesson.

It galvanized our historic crusade!

But unfortunately, some efforts are less successful.

Sometimes the teacher must learn from his students.

Give it to me.

Capitalist exploitation survived for centuries yet its 'classics' are pitiful.

Foreign music is meaningless and empty.

What do they mean by 'symphony,' 'concerto,'

'No 1,' 'No 2,' 'No 3'?

This is empty formalism. It speaks nothing to the people.

What good is making music except to teach and inspire the people?

Long live Chairman Mao!

Overthrow the cultural establishment!

Chou Yuan?


Why do you teach this instrument?

Comrade Chan Gong, what you say is true--

Louder, please.

Comrade Chan Gong, you are right.

Much of Western music is unrefined, worthless.

This is a fact.

Everything you said is true, but the music I teach--

Go on!

The music I teach is revolutionary music--

Beethoven, Prokofiev--

Do you think so?

In his speech, Comrade Li said--

Comrade Li was purged and humiliated.

Do you wish to quote him?

I didn't know.

I have taught for many years.

That is apparent.

We believe in the rule of many voices.

What should we do here?

Throw away that old junk!

Chou Yuan you must admit your guilt.

Let's challenge degenerate Western art!

Comrade, may I say a few words?

Of course.

Students, comrades, revolutionary Red Guards...

I'm not an authority on foreign music.

I have not studied like Comrade Chan Gong.

But in my opinion there's nothing as beautiful as our traditional music.

Chou Yuan also teaches the hu chin.

Could he not focus on that?

Comrade Xiang has shown her wisdom.

Put this down with the other 'great olds'!

To every problem there is a solution!

I'm sure you can discover the problems.

And I'm sure that you can solve them.

Who's there?

Who is it?

Who's there?


You scared me. I didn't hear you.

It's a mess. I was tidying up.

What's that?

This is a violin-- a musical instrument from Europe.

From Europe? Yes.

Is it a bad thing?

No. A violin itself is a good thing.

Here. Take a look.

We have to study foreign music so we can move on as Chairman Mao said.

Dad asked if you're coming.

He's waiting.

Yes. Tell him I'll come to see him right away.

As soon as I finish my... work.

Ming? Yes?

What you see here-- don't tell anyone.

I want you to listen.

This will be our secret, all right?



Was she home? Yes.

Is she coming? No. She said she'd meet you.

What? Is she coming or not?

I can't say why. Why what?

I promised her to keep it secret.

What are you saying? I'm your father.

You must tell me everything.

Xiang Pei! Papa, don't!

Open up. It's me.

Where's the key?



Where is she?

Water! Water!

She's gone!

Is this her?

Look at the date: 1937. It must be her mother.

Chou Yuan!

Chou Yuan!

Chou Yuan!

What do you want? Please let me in.

I've done nothing.

Let me inside.

This is for you. I don't want it.

It's for you. Take it.

It's a violin.

A violin. I remember.

Do you want it or not?

I'm an old man, but I'm not a fool.

Where are your comrades?

Are they waiting outside?

This isn't a trap.

I've changed.

I don't need it now. I speak from my heart.


And I don't need this.

It's from another time.

If you want it, you can have it or else no one will.

Do you want it or not?

I've no time!

No more arguments.

Take it!

I am a cadre in the Party. Do you understand?

I can't keep it.

I love the people. Do you understand?

Xiang Pei!

I will keep it safe.

Let's go eat. I'm starving.

Go ahead. I'll wait here. I'm sure she'll be back.


And sold to the lady on my left.

The last sale of the evening, lot number 72, on the turntable there. The star of the night-- where is she?

The last violin of Niccolò Bussotti, 1 681.

A masterpiece of the-- Do you see it?

No, not yet.

If she will give us the pleasure.

And here she is now, lot number 72, the so-called Red Violin.

And the last order bid-- Not at all how I remember it.

They've cleaned it up and fixed it. It's better.

260,000. Good evening, Mr. Ruselsky.

270,000. Suzanne on the telephones.

Maybe if I heard it again. 280,000. Back to you, sir.

300,000 at the back of the hall.

320,000. Suzanne, I see you.

340,000. I have you here.

380,000. Mr. Ruselsky. The last card.

The last card.

Oh, my God! Courage, madame.

Upside down.

At this point in the spread it might be good news.

I feel--

I feel the fast air sweeping around you... carrying you-- furious wind-- and then stopping.

Your journey will end. No question. I see it.

One way or another, your travels are over.

And there is trouble in this-- like always.

But you-- you are strong by now-- strong like a tree in the forest.

Where is he?


You are not alone.

A crowd of faces, friends and family, enemies, lovers.

You will attract many admirers fighting to win your hand.

And money--

Iots of money.

No, madame.

Don't be afraid.

In this card I see...

I see... a rebirth.

And how was your flight? Very good. On time.

Sorry to cut your holiday short.

It's quite all right. I'm excited actually.

Like Christmas. It won't take too long.

We already divided them up and assessed them.

Right. Ballpark. And all that they want is for you to confirm it. I got it.

A second opinion.

I've done this sort of thing before.

Can't wait to see it, actually.

This is Mr. Morritz. You know--

So, you're the expert?

From New York.

Do you know what you're doing?

Yes, New York.

Do you know what you're doing?


Why yes. I certainly hope so.

These people from Duval's have given us some figures and we have figures from the government of China.

What we need now is--

Professional opinion.

No, a signed affidavit.

That's what I'm here for.

Show me to the Strad.

They all look the same to me. But they're not.

Please don't let me forget this.

Over there.

Here she is.

It's a beautiful specimen.

I'd say about...


Reminds me of the Cobet.

These are the best quality pieces we found.

And here-- over here, if you'd like to take a look, are the less promising entries.

Some of them are pretty bad.

So I see.

I guess I'll leave it to you.

I've taken care of the luggage. I have a driver waiting.

I shouldn't be long.

Bonjour. Bonjour, Mr. Morritz.

Everything is ready as you asked for, I hope.

Same room as always? We have the same room but one story down.

If it's not the same floor, it's not the same room, is it?

No, sir. But it's the same as the other one.

Oh, sir, I have a message from your wife.


Room 2703.

New York City, please.


Carrie, Charles Morritz here.

I have a little gumshoe work I need you to get onto.

Cremona. Bussotti.

Get a pen.

Made a cast of this after we set the table.

The Swiss-- so here we are.

Here's the before picture.

Take a look at the corners.

Not too bad. I don't think we have to touch them.

Some really nice purfling here.

A lot of work to get it this far.

Turn-of-the-century hack job with some horse glue and a patch, so I had to reset the neck.

That was the big job. Sound post, tailpiece, new bridge, of course. But the body itself is remarkably good. I'm just gonna clean it up, strip back some varnish-- No, no. No.

No what?

I told you before, don't touch the varnish.

That's not gonna be easy. If there's a problem, I'll do it myself.

Look, the auction's in two weeks.

I have 1 6 other instruments. Leroux's all over my ass.

I still have a Steiner I haven't even touched.

I want complete LIGs, a resonance test, mass specs and let's get some varnish samples all to the lab, okay?

This instrument is not a priority.

Every minute of my day is full.

That's fine.

We'll do this after hours, all right?

These are the estimates? No, the reserves.

That we propose to the Chinese?

Right. And what about these?

Those are some contentious items you might not want to put on the block.

They're badly preserved and hard to attribute.

What about that red one?

The red one?

Leroux seemed to think it might be a Bussotti.


It might be.

But the label's obscure and the varnish is odd.

It's slightly opaque.

And I'm afraid as it stands with no documentation--

And that's all you expect?

'With all my heart.'

You ever heard of the Red Violin?

Sure, sure-- what-- the Frederick Pope Bussotti? Sure, I heard stories.

How about copies?

There's one in London, the only one I know of-- supposed to be copy commissioned by Pope.

You know who has it? Some private collection.

You think I could... buy it without tipping them off?

Tipping them off to what?

We know for sure we have a Bussotti.

I can date it within the year.

We still have this varnish that doesn't configure but we run some comparison tests and see if this is the source of the copy.

You know I should probably tell my employer?

If what you're saying is any way true people could get a little... excited.

You know I could lose my job over this?

Yes, I know.

You can go if you want to.

I can finish this myself.

Madame Leroux says that she has to have catalog proofs today.

Are you finished?

Yes, they're back at my hotel.

I've been working at night.

Is there something else?


Your wife called again.

Close the door, please.

Yes, is this the University of Montreal?

May I have the archeology department, please?

Hi, this is Charles Morritz over at Duval's.

I sent you some varnish samples on Tuesday.

Yeah, I wanted you to isolate an organic compound.

Excuse me.

May I have the manager, please?

Yes, the manager.

Well fine, put him on.

Yes, this is Mr. Morritz in 2703.

Listen, I want to make something absolutely clear.

I don't want anyone coming to my room.

You understand?

Not the maid. Not to check the minibar.

No chocolates on the pillow.

I'm giving your staff sort of a break, understand?

No one is to come in my room unless I request it.

Thank you.

Yes. I got it.

It's coming. I just talked to London.

Well, you know, a little bit of smooth talk and a little bit more money. Your money.

You better make those phone calls.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, me too.

Well, actually--

Wonderful. Yes.

I have the recording.

Pretty good Strad, don't you think?

I feel a little bit tight on the top.

A little bit stronger over the break.

To me it's very clean, precise.

Of course, it would have to be played by a master.

What do you guess?

1.7, 1.8 million. Not bad.

Trust me on this. What else do you have?

That's about it. But thanks for coming.

I hope you don't have an orchestra waiting.

They can wait. They can wait, no problem.

What about this here?

No, not that one.

Nice little piece. But not for you.

I will try it. No, no, no. Don't play it.

Why not? Yes, why not?

I've just repaired it. It's still fragile.

I don't even know why it's here.

I'll be very gentle. Don't worry.

Yes. I see what you mean.

Nothing special.

How's it going?

What do you want me to do with that one, the Pope copy?

I'll take it back to the hotel.

You got your money's worth. That is a very good copy.

Nice violin, but nothing like this one.

This... is the single most perfect acoustic machine I have ever seen.


Guess I never thought I'd find it.

The ultimate... thing as I see it.

The perfect marriage of science and beauty.


Now what?

What do you do when the thing you most wanted so... perfect... just comes?

Do you have children?


Children. You have any?

No, no, I don't, but I know what you mean.

I would love to have this baby for myself.


What would you do?

Take it apart. Find out how it works.

Take some igonmode readings on the individual plates.

I don't think you get it. Oh, yes, yes I do.

Take a look at this.

This is mode one, .06 kHz.

Watch the response curve here.

I'll ease it up slowly for you.

Mode two.

Stop it.

Bonjour, Mr. Morritz. Bonjour.

I have an envelope for you from University of Montreal.

This says this arrived at 7:00, I was in my room.

Yes, sir.

Why wasn't I notified?

You told us not to disturb you.

Not for a courier. I didn't know, sir.

If a courier comes, you call me. If a fax comes, you call me.

Yes. It's important, do you get it?

You knock on my door and you put it in my hand.


I need you to acknowledge.


This is my business!

Mr. Morritz, I'm sorry.

You'd better come up. I'm-- they're waiting for you.

All right.

So nice of you to join us.

I hope you don't mind us starting without you, but there was the question of some unusual expenses, both here in the office and at the hotel.

Did you check my minibar too? It is our card. We are paying.

You made me wonder what was going on down here, so we decided to come down and have a look, and my, you have been busy, amidst the courier bills and DNA tests.

Very curious procedures.

Leroux has a theory.

Tell me if she's wrong.

Is our little red violin, 'The Red Violin'?


I just wanted to be sure before I told you.

This is very good news.

I'll set up a press release.

Good work.

Thank you.

Why don't you take these last few days off?

Before you go home.


No, I won't forget.

He lied.

He lied to me. And I knew it as soon as I saw it.

And I said it.

This instrument should be mine.

Son of a bitch.

Ladies and gentlemen, Duval's would like to welcome you to this eagerly awaited event.

Our thanks to the government of China for entrusting us with this marvelous collection.

Thanks too to Madame Leroux, who organized and made possible this auction.

Let me remind you that the conditions of sale are listed in the catalog.

Before we begin, it is my duty to direct you to the conditions of sale that you'll find at the front of the catalog.

I will not read them out loud at this point but consider yourselves warned.

Now ladies and gentlemen, we'll begin with lot number one.

Showing on the turntable on my right, a fine French cello.

I'm gonna start with $1 0,000.

$1 0,000.

Anything else? No.

Which airport, sir? Dorval.

There is one stop we have to make.

$400,000 at the back of the room.

The Stradivarius now at 400,000.

Against the telephone, 420,000. 450,000.

Against you, sir. 500,000.

500,000 back to the front. 500,000.500,000.

Wait here, I'll just be a minute.

I might have to go around the block.

All right, if you have to.

1,100,000. 1,100,000.


Is that a bid, sir? Don't be shy.

All right then, I'll take it. 1,300,000.


1,500,000. Yes, sir, I've got you.

$1,600,000. 1,600,000.

Not you, sir? 1,650,000.


Not yours, ma'am. Mr. Morritz.

Please don't let me forget this.

Against the telephone now. Against you, sir.


1,850,000. 1,875,000 in the room.



1,900,000 on the telephone.

1,920,000 in the room.

1,920,000. I've got you, sir. Thank you.


Not yours, ma'am. Neither of yours.


Son of a bitch.

I'll take 10,000,000.

You want back in, sir?

Is that a yes? No.

The Stradivarius now at $1,940,000.

Not yours, ma'am.

Neither of yours. $1,940,000.

Against you all in the room.

Is that all then?

Fair warning.

1,950,000 on my left.

Down to you two now. 1,950,000.

Not yours, sir? Not yours, Paul?

The bid is 1,950,000.

Did you clean this? Against you all in the room.

Who's responsible for-- The Stradivarius now at 1,950,000.

I have to get the last lot. All done then.

I come to fix-- Excuse me--

--I asked the client-- What's going on?

We're gonna have to-- $1,950,000.

And sold to the lady on my left.

The last sale of the evening, lot number 72, on the turntable there.

Wait! The star of the night--

The tag! The last violin of Niccolò Bussotti, 1 681. A master--

I put the tag on myself!

If she will give us the pleasure.

Too late.

Here she is now, lot 72, the so-called Red Violin.

Here we go now. The last order bid--

Call security.

So, we'll open the floor and who will start us off?

260,000. Good evening, Mr. Ruselsky.

270,000. Suzanne on the telephone.

280,000. Back to you, sir.

Here. 300,000 in the back.

320,000. I see you, Suzanne.

340,000. 340,000 now in the front.

400,000 at the back of the hall. 420,000.

500,000.500,000. Against the telephone now.

Suzanne-- 500,000. stop it. Is that a yes? No?

Against you, sir.

600,000. 700,000.

Not yours, sir. Not yours.

I have $800,000.


$1,000,000. Mr. Ruselsky.

$1,100,000. 1,200,000.

Not you, sir? Ma'am?

1,200,000. Are you sure?

1,300,000. 1,400,000.




Mr. Morritz. Down to you two now.

2,000,000. Mr. Ruselsky. Mr. Morritz!

Mr. Morritz. 2,100,000.


Mr. Morritz!

Excuse me.

Is this what you're looking for?

Down to you two. 2,200,000. Yes.

Your coat.






Is that all then?


Let him have it. All done then.

Are you okay, sir? Yes. Take me home.

Right away.

Fair warning.

I'm selling now at $2,400,000-- and sold to Mr. Ruselsky.


Hey, baby, it's me.

Yeah. I'm sorry.



Yes, I wanted to. Every day but--

Well, something came up but it's over now and I'm coming home.

Oh, yeah. Yeah, may I speak to her?

Hi, honey. It's Daddy.

How are you?

Oh, I miss you too.

I'm coming home.

And, honey, I'm bringing you something very special.


Are you all right?

Is everything all right?

Yes. I'm sorry.

You have the visions.

No. I'd better go now.

My husband.

Of course. Go to your husband.

Thanks, Cesca.