The Piano

The Piano

Director: Jane Campion Cast: Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter
, Harvey Keitel
Harvey Keitel
, Sam Neill
Sam Neill
, Anna Paquin
Anna Paquin
Jane Campion
The Piano

The Piano

Director: Jane Campion Cast: Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter
, Harvey Keitel
Harvey Keitel
, Sam Neill
Sam Neill
, Anna Paquin
Anna Paquin
Jane Campion


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Writer/director Jane Campion's third feature unearthed emotional undercurrents and churning intensity in the story of a mute woman's rebellion in the recently colonized New Zealand wilderness of Victorian times. Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter), a mute who has willed herself not to speak, and her strong-willed young daughter Flora (Anna Paquin) find themselves in the New Zealand wilderness, with Ada the imported bride of dullard land-grabber Stewart (Sam Neill). Ada immediately takes a dislike to Stewart when he refuses to carry her beloved piano home with them. But Stewart makes a deal with his overseer George Baines (Harvey Keitel) to take the piano off his hands. Attracted to Ada, Baines agrees to return the piano in exchange for a series of piano lessons that become a series of increasingly charged sexual encounters. As pent-up emotions of rage and desire swirl around all three characters, the savage wilderness begins to consume the tiny European enclave. Campion imbues her tale with an over-ripe tactility and a murky, poetic undertow that betray the characters' confined yet overpowering emotions: Ada's buried sensuality, Baines' hidden tenderness, and Stewart's suppressed anger and violence. The story unfolds like a Greek tragedy of the Outback, complete with a Greek chorus of Maori tribesmen and a blithely uncaring natural environment that envelops the characters like an additional player. Campion directs with discreet detachment, observing one character through the glances and squints of another as they peer through wooden slats, airy curtains, and the spaces between a character's fingers. She makes the film immediate and urgent by implicating the audience in characters' gazes. And she guides Hunter to a revelatory performance of silent film majesty. Relying on expressive glances and using body language to convey her soulful depths, Hunter became a modern Lillian Gish and won an Oscar for her performance, as did Paquin and Campion for her screenplay. Campion achieved something rare in contemporary cinema: a poetry of expression told in the form of an off-center melodrama.

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Product Details

Release Date: 01/25/2022
UPC: 0715515267717
Original Release: 1993
Rating: R
Source: Criterion Collection
Time: 2:01:00
Sales rank: 1,918

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Holly Hunter Ada McGrath
Harvey Keitel George Baines
Sam Neill Stewart
Anna Paquin Flora McGrath
Kerry Walker Aunt Morag
Genevieve Lemon Nessie
Alison Barrett Actor
Susie Figgis Actor
Diana Rowan Actor
Tungia Baker Hira
Ian Mune Reverend
Peter Dennett Head Seaman
Te Whatanui Skimworth Chief Nihe
Pete Smith Hone
Bruce Allpress Blind Piano Tuner
Cliff Curtis Mana
Eru Potaka-Dewes Pitama
Greg Johnson Seaman
Jon Brazier Wedding Photographer
Karen Colston Bluebeard's Wife
Julian Lee Cloud Carrier Boy
George Boyle Flora's Grandfather
Stephen Hall Seaman

Technical Credits
Jane Campion Director,Screenwriter
Alun Bollinger Camera Operator
Jan Chapman Producer
Alain Depardieu Executive Producer
Stuart Dryburgh Cinematographer
Veronika Jenet Editor
Andrew McAlpine Production Designer
Michael Nyman Score Composer
Janet Patterson Costumes/Costume Designer
Lee Smith Sound/Sound Designer
Mark Turnbull Associate Producer

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