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The Piano (1993)
Drama,Romance
English
A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she's soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.
Holly Hunter Ada McGrath
Harvey Keitel George Baines
Sam Neill Alisdair Stewart
Anna Paquin Flora McGrath
Kerry Walker Aunt Morag
Geneviève Lemon Nessie (as Genevieve Lemon)
Tungia Baker Hira
Ian Mune Reverend
Peter Dennett Head Seaman
Te Whatanui Skipwith Chief Nihe
Pete Smith Hone
Bruce Allpress Blind Piano Tuner
Cliff Curtis Mana
Carla Rupuha Heni (Mission Girl)
Mahina Tunui Mere (Mission Girl)
Hori Ahipene Mutu
Gordon Hatfield Te Kori
Mere Boynton Chief Nihe's Daughter
Kirsten Batley Marama
Tania Burney Mahina
Annie Edwards Te Tiwha
Harina Haare Roimata / Angel
Christina Harimate Parearau
Steve Kanuta Amohia
P.J. Karauria Taua
Sonny Kirikiri Tame
Alain Makiha Kahutia
Greg Mayor Tipi
Neil Mika Gudsell Tahu
Guy Moana Kohuru
Joseph Otimi Rehia
Glynis Paraha Mairangi
Riki Pickering Rongo
Eru Potaka-Dewes Pitama
Liane Rangi Henry Te Ao
Huihana Rewa Te Hikumutu
Tamati Rice Pito
Paora Sharples Hotu
George Smallman Tuu
Kereama Teua Te Kukuni
Poamo Tuialii Kahu
Susan Tuialii Pare
Kahumanu Waake Waimiria (as Kahumanu Waaka)
Lawrence Wharerau Kamira
Eddie Campbell Seaman
Roger Goodburn Seaman
Stephen Hall Seaman
Greg Johnson Seaman
Wayne McGoram Seaman
Jon Brazier Wedding Photographer
Stephen Papps Bluebeard
Nicola Baigent Bluebeard's Wife / Sunday School Teacher
Ruby Codner Bluebeard's Wife
Karen Colston Bluebeard's Wife
Verity George Bluebeard's Wife
Julie Steele Bluebeard's Wife
Timothy Raby Taunting Man (as Tim Raby)
Jon Sperry Taunting Man
Isobel Dryburgh Angel
Claire Lourie Angel
Rose McIver Angel
Amber Main Angel
Rachael Main Angel
Sean Abraham Cloud Carrier Boy
Tomas Dryburgh Cloud Carrier Boy
Simon Knight-Jones Cloud Carrier Boy
Julian Lee Cloud Carrier Boy
Daniel Lunn Cloud Carrier Boy
Barbara Grover School Hall Piano Player
Arthur Ranford School Hall Violin Player
Rob Ellis Young Wives Husband
Terrence Garbolino Young Wives Husband
William Matthew Young Wives Husband
Nancy Flyger Maid
George Boyle Flora's Grandfather
Jason Aranui Waka Crewman
Thomas Crowe Waka Crewman
Shane Howell Waka Crewman
Sam Ingley Waka Crewman
Lance Kahukiwa Waka Crewman
Graham Kereama Barrett Waka Crewman
Wayne Kingi Waka Crewman
Lucas Puhi Thompson Waka Crewman
Peter Rangitaawa Waka Crewman
Joseph Samuel Waka Crewman
Thomas Searancke Waka Crewman
Philip Taiaho Heke Waka Crewman
George Te Huia Waka Crewman
Alfred Tiaki Hotu Waka Crewman
Flynn the Dog Baines' dog 'Flynn' (as Flynn)
Producer: Jan Chapman
Writer: Jane Campion
Magnificent, symbolic film masterpiece plays beautifully, like a piano.
There are very few female directors in the film industry that have been given proper acknowledgment or had their works introduced to mainstream filmgoers. Jane Campion is one of these precious few, a director who carefully paces and sculpts her works so that they magnificently flow like a musical interlude. "The Piano" is her ultimate masterpiece, a film of such simplicity, described with calm and tense complexity. Holly Hunter received an Oscar for her fascinating performance as Ada, a mute woman who is forced into an arranged marriage with a New Zealand landowner, played convincingly by Sam Neill, a native Australian actor himself. Ada journeys to New Zealand with her young daughter (Anna Paquin, also an Oscar-winner that year), few other possessions, and her treasured piano, a part of her that amplifies her voice that she cannot express through vocal communication.

I believe it would be wrong to assume that any of the characters are martyrs in this tragic story, nor would it be right to think Sam Neill's character a villain. You may think this is crazy, but I think the piano itself serves as both a good and bad omen for all that are involved. I would relate it to a "Pandora's box" of sorts, a treasure that exposes all the evil and sin in the world, but which also provides hope as well. The piano is Ada's sounding box, a tool that allows her to escape from a world that does not understand her, but that also threatens her moral compass, removing her from marital conventions and forces her to lose herself.

The performances in "The Piano" are particularly good, especially Holly Hunter's. It is interesting to note that all of Hunter's piano playing in the film is actually Hunter herself performing in front of us. You can visually and aurally feel the mood of Hunter's character through the music she plays. We the audience lose ourselves right along with her, lost upon a sea of music. We see why Keitel becomes enamored by her, and why Neill becomes overcome with jealousy and betrayal. Not many films would allow us to enter the emotions of all three main characters, but this film is truly an exception.

Rarely do we witness real beauty captured on film. "The Piano" is such a visually stunning film, it's almost intoxicating how its atmosphere sweeps across the screen. This landscape is equaled by the performances, bringing understanding and mystery to this wonder. Sometimes symbolism of this nature can be distracting to an audience. "The Piano" dares to follow this symbolic path, and hits a bullseye with full emotional force. Rating: Four stars.

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User credit 1:1001 movies you must see before you die
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Storage device:DVD
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Movie
Imdb rating: 7.4
Musician: Michael Nyman
Running time: 121 min
Technical
Subtitles: Svenska
Audio tracks: Dolby Digital 5.1 [English]
Everything else:
Last modified: 2008-01-13 22:13:40