May poles have tarnished in the gray mists of this first week, but today was sunny and that may be the portent for a delicious middle spring. This lucky Friday 13, 2011, the TFC is proud to continue with its theme for this month; “strong women”, by screening THE PIANO (1993). It was written and directed by the innovative Jane Campion, who directed only short films for her first decade. He first feature film was SWEETIE (1989), and also has given us THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY (1996), IN THE CUT (2003), and BRIGHT STAR (2009). She is the first woman to win the Palm de Or at Cannes.
Jane Campion wrote: “I think that the romantic impulse is in all of us, and that sometimes we live for it for a short time, but it is not part of a sensible way of living. It’s a heroic path and it generally ends dangerously. I treasure it in the sense that I believe it’s a path of great courage. It can also be the path of the foolhardy and the compulsive.”
Campion considered a number of other actresses to play Ada, including Sigourney Weaver, Anjelica Huston, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche, and Madeleine Stowe. Holly Hunter actually plays the piano sequences herself.
The music was composed by Michael Nyman, who has worked a lot with controversial director Peter Greenaway; he has written scores for 89 films including A ZED AND TWO NOUGHTS (1986), DROWNING BY NUMBERS (1988), PROSPERO’S BOOKS (1991), CARRINGTON (1995), GATTACA (1997), and THE LIBERTINE (2004).
Ada: There is a silence where hath been no sound / There is a silence where no sound may be / In the cold grave, under the deep deep sea. -Thomas Hood..
Hal Hinden of the WASHINGTON POST wrote: “The erotic tension that Campion brings to these scenes is nearly excruciating. Every detail — even the mere contrast between Keitel’s thick, Minotaur physique and Hunter’s swanlike delicacy — seems to carry a palpable threat of violence. And when the tension finally erupts, it is devastating.”
THE PIANO (1993)
Directed by Jane Campion @ 121 minutes.
The film stars Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, and Anna Paquin.
Synopsis: A mute woman, along with her young daughter and prized piano, are sent to 1850’s New Zealand for an “arranged marriage” to a wealthy landowner. He is a harsh man and he sells her piano to a neighbor, who offers to sell it back to her for the price of some piano lessons; but it soon becomes clear he wants more than music tutoring.
This film won the Palm de Or at Cannes, and three Oscars; Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay.
Ada: The voice you hear is not my speaking voice – -but my mind’s voice. I have not spoken since I was six years old. No one knows why – -not even me. My father says it is a dark talent, and the day I take it into my head to stop breathing will be my last. Today he married me to a man I have not yet met. Soon my daughter and I shall join him in his own country. My husband writes that my muteness does not bother him – and hark this! He says, “God loves dumb creatures, so why not I?” ‘Twere good he had God’s patience, for silence affects everyone in the end. The strange thing is, I don’t think myself silent. That is because of my piano. I shall miss it on the journey.
Roger Ebert wrote, “Her original screenplay for “The Piano” has elements of the Gothic in it, of that Victorian sensibility that masks eroticism with fear, mystery and exotic places. It also gives us a heroine who is a genuine piece of work; Ada is not a victim here, but a woman who reads a situation and responds to it.”
The striking cinematography was done by Stuart Dryburgh, who has shot 34 other films, including ONCE WE WERE WARRIORS (1994), LONE STAR (1996), BRIDGET JONE’S DIARY (2001), THE PAINTED VEIL (2006), and AMELIA (2009).
So join us this Friday, May 13, 2011 to watch THE PIANO (1993). It will screen at 924 Broadway, in the Pythian Temple, at street level, across from the Theater on the Square, in the heart of Tacoma’s theater district. Come early, at 6:00 p.m. and have a scrumptious meal prepared by the Phantom Director and Farishta, and enjoy the fellowship of the other early arrivals. We will hold the Club raffle, at one dollar per ticket, with the winners receiving either 40% of the collected funds, or a special DVD from my private collection. Look for our huge banner out front. See you at the movies!