peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2021 05 23 ThePiano

The Piano

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Jane Campion's breakthrough feature. Far superior to the later Holy Smoke!. Briefly limp-as-always New Zealand settler Sam Neill mail orders bride Holly Hunter (excellent and Oscared) from the mother country, who arrives with her piano and daughter Anna Paquin (similarly) in startling style. She's inexplicably mute and finds deep pleasure in her playing. Soon enough rough but sensitive Harvey Keitel takes an interest and things go as they must. I was a bit mystified why Neill put up so much of a fight; no one was getting what they wanted up to the point where movie logic demanded things be taken to the limit, and it's pretty clear all the time that he just wants to get on with despoiling the countryside.

Campion herself got an Oscar for the screenplay. Vincent Canby sort-of reviewed it from Cannes 1993, as did Roger Ebert, where Campion was the first woman to win the Palme d'Or. Roger Ebert more formally. Caryn James situates the movie amongst other Australian gothics and observes Campion was inspired by Wuthering Heights.