mute female pianist, travelling with
her young daughter from Scotland to
an arranged marriage in New Zealand
in the mid-19th Century, is indifferent
towards her new husband but when
she is seduced by the overseer there
are devastating consequences in the
compelling period drama The Piano...
MUTE SINCE CHILDHOOD, gifted pianist Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter: O Brother,
Where Art Thou?; The Big Sick) takes her young, strong-willed daughter Flora
(Anna Paquin: X-Men; The Squid and the Whale; True Blood) and her treasured
piano to New Zealand where her father has arranged a marriage for her with local
landowner Alisdair Stewart (Sam Neill: Dead Calm; Sirens; Hunt for the Wilderpeople).
Alisdair refuses to have her piano brought to her new home and it becomes clear
that he is not willing to understand his wife, who is upset by his actions and
is unable to have feelings for him.
a haunting score,
The Piano is a poignant
and compelling period
story of a mute
woman who refuses
to be ignored...
cruelly sells the piano to overseer George Baines (Harvey Keitel: Mean Streets;
Bad Lieutenant), who is sympathetic to the Maori and has adopted some of
their ways. He wants Ada to teach him to play and lusts after her.
George's determination to seduce Ada leads to him blackmailing her into forming
a relationship. She is to discover a passion she has never known; an awakening
that leads to a violent and harrowing outcome as long-suppressed emotions come
to the fore.
The Piano won widespread critical and audience acclaim on its release in
1993 and has been described as original, powerful and erotically charged. It
is; but it is also a love story of betrayal and torment. A woman discovering
herself and her sexuality at a time when Victorian values dictated otherwise.
There is no explanation of why, at the age of six, Ada suddenly decides to become
mute. It is not physical but self-imposed. She chooses to express herself by
playing her piano. Flora is the daughter of Ada's piano teacher who her mother
also rejected as not seeing the person she was fighting to become.
Director Jane Campion was the first female director to win the Cannes Palme
d'Or for the triumphant masterpiece that centres on a mute woman's rebellion
in a newly colonised Victorian-era New Zealand.
The film also won Oscars for Holly Hunter (Best Actress in a Leading Role
won without speaking a single word!) and Anna Paquin (Best Actress in a Supporting
Role). It was also awarded Best Screenplay Statue for Campion's female-oriented
With even more strings to her bow, Holly Hunter played all the piano pieces
and served as sign language teacher for Anna Paquin. Featuring Maori tribes
and the natural world of New Zealand, The Piano has much to commend it. The
film contains some nudity, scenes of a sexual nature and some violence.
Jane Campion's prevailing theme is "women on the edge of societal norms". She
was responsible for 1989's Sweetie, An Angel at My Table, Portrait
of a Lady, Holy Smoke, In The Cut, Bright Star, and her acclaimed HBO/BBC
television series Top of the Lake.
Filmed in Auckland and at Karekare Beach in New Zealand, The Piano also
features: Kerry Walker as Aunt Morag; Genevieve Lemon as Nessie; Tungia Baker
as Hira; Ian Mune as The Reverend; Peter Dennett as Head Seaman; Te Whatanui
Skipwith as Chief Nihe; Pete Smith as Hone; Bruce Allpress as Blind Piano Tuner;
Cliff Curtis as Mana; Carla Rupuha as Mission Girl Heni; Mahina Tunui as Mission
Girl Mere; Hori Ahipene as Mutu; Gordon Hatfield as Te Kori; and Mere Boynton
as Chief Nihe's Daughter.
The evocative music is by Michael Nyman; Cinematography by Stuart Dryburgh;
Producer is Jan Chapman; Executive Producer (CIBY 2000) is Alain Depardieu;
and Written and Directed by Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog).
This brand-new restoration of The Piano, the groundbreaking 1993 Cannes
Palme D'Or winner, is the first time the film will be available of 4K UHD, courtesy
of STUDIOCANAL from 5 September 2022.
Bonus Material: Interview with Jane Campion and Jan Chapman | Making of | 25
Years On | Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh (Brand New) | Production Designer
Andrew McAlpine (Brand New) | Maori Advisor Waihoroi Shortland (Brand New).
"With a haunting score, beautifully filmed and dramatised, The Piano
is a poignant and compelling period story of a mute woman who refuses to be
ignored" Maggie Woods, MotorBar
"The Piano deserves its place as a classic" EMPIRE
"An enigmatic masterpiece from one of the finest living film makers" The Guardian