The Painter and the Thief
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Striking visuals and heavenly music accompany a touching romance.
Jane Campion's erotic period romance drama The Piano (1993) is a stunning piece of art. Campion's direction boasts a visual flair like only a true auteur can manage. Her imagery is so stark and memorable as she conveys deep desires of lust and love within a single shot. Every frame of The Piano is well thought out to portray a forbidden love similar to the likes of The Scarlet Letter or Brokeback Mountain visually. Campion earns her respected status as a director of great visual and storytelling prowess with her effortless direction for The Piano. I am impressed by the love scenes as well as the chase in the rain set to Michael Nyman's lovely piano score. The music weaves in and out of each scene crafting a dreamy romance of powerful feelings and quiet love.
Jane Campion's writing is so realistic. Every word exchanged between lovers feels like a genuine conversation. Campion's verbal style is subtle, expressive, and authentic to her unique characters. She writes a love triangle like no other herein The Piano. Her direction for the romantic interactions feels reverential towards the male and female bodies. She brings a respectful tastefulness to her film. Combining stellar writing and gentle phrasing and passionate desire is extraordinarily powerful alongside her focused direction. No wonder The Piano made Jane Campion a famous director the world over. Veronika Jenet's editing is gentle and dreamy as she only cuts to specific gazes and particular visuals Campion wants you to see.
Stuart Dryburgh's cinematography is beautiful as he captures intimate feelings indoors and vast New Zealand vistas in the natural forests of the isolated country. You can tell both Dryburgh and Campion adore New Zealand's striking backdrop. You feel like you are looking at paradise while watching The Piano. All the mud, forest, and sunlight start to have an effect on you for sure.
Janet Patterson's costumes are wondrous with soft cloths and pretty patterns for all the clothes. Her black dresses are sincerely beautifully woven and designed. All the lace layers and colorful lining make her dresses unique. Likewise, her Kiwi clothes for Sam Neill and Scottish outfits for Harvey Keitel are really cool and detailed.
Holly Hunter is amazing in her leading role for The Piano as a mute piano lover. She's very expressive even without sound. She is certainly beautiful in The Piano, but it's the way she sways while playing the piano and draws her hands along skin that is so sensual and engaging in The Piano. Anna Paquin is remarkable as a playful and precocious liar and beloved daughter to Hunter's figure. Sam Neill is excellent as the jealous husband, who is not affectionate, but who desperately wants to be. Harvey Keitel steals the shows with a nuanced performance as a Scottish labourer in service to Neill's landowner, who admires music and the lady that plays it.
In short, The Piano is a magical romance drama of hidden feelings and silent expressions. If you pay attention, you will get an entire relationship out of every shot, word, motion, and note.
Maybe I'm not refined or artsy enough to like this movie, but I really thought this movie didn't quite hit the mark. A New Zealand romance in the 1800s is a very interesting setting for a movie, but the love story was a bit tedious, and I never quite get any movie where a woman will get with a guy who is basically kind of a prick at the beginning. Some may find that romantic I guess, I just think being a good, normal person might work too! I didn't understand why she had to be an elective mute, I must have missed where they explained that? I guess they were two lonely people who found each other, I don't know, maybe I'm a little lost... Acting was solid though, I just had a rough time with the plot.
Sensual, moving, beautiful, and haunting.
you have to see the piano to understand why it's so great.
and 'that one moment' is right up there in legit-earned-shock hall of fame.
if you've seen it you know what i'm talking about.
One of, and possibly the worst film I have ever seen. Pretentious, slow, and there were no characters in it one could like or care what happened to them, except possibly the unfortunate child who had to hang out with such a dreadful trio of adults.
This is the only film I have ever seen that I hated while I was watching it but when thinking it over after having seen it decided I liked. It's an odd picture, one that is singular in it's vision, but it manages to express ideas about love and lust that few films do and it's feminine perspective is clear. There were parts of the film that I disliked, Anna Paquin's performance and the inscrutability of the main character, and I wouldn't call it a masterpiece but I did find some parts of it to be utterly devastating. It can be hard to get into, I certainly struggled, however it is a rewarding experience if you try and that makes the effort worth it.
Mute Scottish woman Ada, Holly Hunter, travels to New Zealand in the mid 19th century to be with a husband that her father has given her away to in Alisdair Stewart, Sam Neill, with her sign language interpreter daughter Flora, Anna Paquin. She struggles to adjust to her new lifestyle and is angered when Alisdair refuses to move her beloved piano from the beach to her house. Alisdair's friend Baines, Harvey Keitel, schemes to have a relationship with Ada by taking the piano for himself and telling her that he will give it back to her if she performs sexual favors for him. Before long the two have begun a sexual affair but when Alisdair discovers their duplicitousness he cuts off her fingers and orders Baines to stay away from her. Finally Alisdair allows the two lovers to leave and Ada builds a better life for herself with Baines and her daughter.
The film works best when it shows the growing attraction between Baines and Ada. I had issues with Ada as a character but I couldn't deny that Keitel and Hunter have incredible chemistry and the scenes of the two of them simply interacting while she doesn't talk but expresses multitudes through her facial expressions and he silently attempts to initiate sexual contact with her. Of course a highlight of the film comes when a completely nude Keitel is revealed but what really makes the scene is Hunter's reaction as we see her become excited at the sight of another's naked form, a significant change from her usually neutral expression. The sight of Neill watching the two of them while they have sex turned me off but before that the lovemaking was fairly tender and shot with more sensitivity than you get in the films of Adrian Lyne or Paul Verhoeven.
My issue with the film is that the main character is impenetrable to the point of leaving you unengaged. I have read that she is meant to be an enigma but I do not find her to be a fascinating enigma for long enough and her actions often made her dislikable but in a bland, annoying way. I wanted to understand some fundamental things about her character in order to feel for her as she treats those around her with complete disrespect. The fact that Jane Campion won Best Screenplay slightly confuses me especially when considering the fact that Sleepless in Seattle (1993) was also nominated. Had she set out with a clearer plan for what the character was going to be portrayed like I think I could have connected with the film more and that would have been nice because there were some parts of the film that I absolutely loved.
The performance of Hunter also left something to be desired despite a few flashes of brilliance. She's never been my favorite actress as I was not impressed by her in Broadcast News (1987) and The Big Sick (2017) but she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in this film and I don't think she deserved it. I would have rewarded Stockard Channing for her work in Six Degrees of Separation (1993) but I suppose the members of the Academy had a certain fondness for Hunter.
I've never changed my mind quite so much about a film and that proves it can provoke strong emotional reactions, a rare achievement especially when considering how respected this film is and how wide an audience it appeals to.
ANOTHER film about the historical abuse, harassment and marginalization of women from Weinstein's MIRIMAX company. Three things about this movie (if you bother to watch it): it's beautifully shot, lit and produced. Secondly; it's something of a remake of Terrence Malick's minor classic "Day's of Heaven", but with feminist themes. Thirdly, the elephant in the room: critics LOVED the movie, but if you visit review sites, a good portion of the audience HATED it, for whatever reason - the precious art-film style, the thin plot, the misery and suffering. Lastly, the move is REALLY WELL MADE but there's A LOT OF NAKED ASSES in this movie, so be aware that it's for mature viewers. Technically, and emotionally affecting. Oh yeah, the actual music sounds like Tori Amos warming up or something? It's nice music but I'm not sure it's the sound of 1850. Many have responded critically to this point, but it didn't really bother me personally.
I hated this movie. Really, really hated it.
This 1993's beautiful and poetic film follows a mute woman who is sent to 1850s New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a rich landlord, but is soon seduced by a local gardener. Holly Hunter's performance is strong and intense without the need for words and Anna Paquin definitely surprised everyone at the age of 11 with her first role in a motion picture, for which both actresses won their respective Oscars. With 3 wins out of 8 nominations, including Best Original Screenplay, it proves to be an outstanding work by director Jane Campion with a prodigious music score.
fine acting average movie.