Revisiting Jane Campion’s Haunting Classic The Piano
The New Zealand-born director Jane Campion won the 1986 short film Palme d’Or at Cannes with her nine-minute Peel, shared the Palme d’Or for The Piano (with Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine) in 1993, and presided over the Cannes jury in 2014. The Observer’s Philip French looks back on Campion’s most popular movie.
“Set in mid-19th-century New Zealand, it’s shot in an exquisite, painterly fashion by Stuart Dryburgh that gives the landscape an appropriately exotic look, and has one of Michael Nyman’s most haunting scores,” French writes.
“This haunting tale is superbly acted (both Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin won Oscars for their performances), and Campion (who won an Academy award for best original screenplay) does a remarkable job of evoking the impact of New Zealand on the puzzled European newcomers. New Zealand production designer Andrew McAlpine won the Bafta award for production design of the film, which included the iconic piano witting on Karakare Beach.
“Indeed it stands as the most sensitive film yet made about this spiritual encounter, a sea change bringing about a rich and strange transformation. In an interview accompanying this Blu-ray disc, Campion talks of wanting the film to appear as if being shot under water, something that disconcerted her fellow filmmakers and evokes Shakespeare’s The Tempest.”
Recently, it was announced that Campion was nearing a deal to direct an adaptation of Rachel Kushner’s novel The Flamethrowers.
Original article by: Philip French, The Observer, July 27, 2014