Wednesday, 5 April 2017

''The Piano'' (1993 film)- Review

Directed by: Jane Campion
Released: 1993
Country: New Zealand

Genre: Drama

Rating: 5 out of 5


I fell in love with ''The Piano'' in one of the earliest scenes of the movie, when the protagonist, Ada (Holly Hunter), looks at the sea, there is a focus on her face as well as on the sea itself, and the beautiful- extremely beautiful- piece ''The Heart Asks Pleasure First'' plays inthe background. 

''The Piano'' is a very simple film- the subject matter is pretty simple- however, this simplicity is handled with such poetic skill and beauty that it becomes a film impossible to forget and impossible not to fall in love with.

Ada is a mute woman and has not spoken since she was a child. She lives in Scotland with her daughter Flora, played by Anna Paquin. Ada cannot speak but she communicates through two mediums: her daughter understands the sign language she uses and she has her piano. She loves her piano and she plays excellently. The film starts as Ada and Flora are brought to New Zealand, where Ada will be married to a man named Alistair Stewart, played by Sam Neill. Ada's most valued possession is her piano. However, as it is way too heavy, the natives refuse to carry it to Stewart's house, and it remains in the beach. Ada misses her piano, and is devastated to know that a man called George Baines, played by Harvey Keitel, has agreed to give Stewart lands in exchange of the piano, and George- without taking Ada's permission- agreed. Ada desperately wants her piano back, and when she discovers the way through which she can have the piano back, she does not hesitate to take that path, thereby ignoring the consequences that it can bring.

Emotions unfold over the course of the film. Passion, emotions, love, cruelty. The characters develop over the course of the film. And so do their emotions. Holly Hunter's performance is strong and extremely powerful. The character she plays is very strong as well. She does not speak a word, but through her expressions she reflects the determination and strength that is in her character. Excellent, to put it in a single word. 

Jane Campion's screenplay portrays the 19th century New Zealand- or the particular coast of New Zealand in which the film is taking place- as isolated and bleak, where the natives and the European settlers coexist peacefully, where storms are not uncommon, and where sunlight is a rarity. The setting of the film is as such atmospheric and adds a lot to the poetic beauty of the film.

''The Piano'' tells a simple yet powerful- very powerful- story. Thanks to Jane Campion's excellent screenplay, the excellent performances by Holly Hunter, Anna Paquin, Harvey Keitel and Sam Neill, the beautiful cinematography, and the lovely soundtrack- particularly the piece ''The Heart Asks Pleasure First''- the film is transformed into a work of art. It is so sophisticated, so poetic, so beautiful. It is one of those films that stay with you.

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