The Violin (2007) — Mexico
Don Plutarco Hidalgo is an aging and illiterate peasant farmer, but he still plays the violin with his one good hand. His son plays the guitar and his grandson collects the spare change as they play in restaurants and bars, then sleep on the streets at night. But their real passion is the guerilla movement of other peasants who are resisting the oppressive government. When the army raids, loots and torches their little village, the guerilla movement is stranded in the dense mountain jungles without their cache of weapons. Plutarco borrows a mule and returns to their village, telling the occupying soldiers that he wants to check his crops. At his age, he's able to convince the soldiers, and the commander takes a shine to Plutarco's violin playing. I won't spoil just where that violin takes this powerful film about oppression and liberation, only to say that as the film itself demonstrates, it's the stuff of multi-generational songs sung at peasant campfires. Filmed in black and white, in Spanish with English sub-titles.