The Piano


(out of 5)

 revives her career with her letter-perfect performance as a mute Scottish woman with an iron will who is sent to New Zealand as a mail-order bride for a farmer (), bringing along her equally fiery and imaginative daughter (, debuting at the age of 11 and becoming one of the youngest Oscar winners ever). Upon their arrival, Neill has his Maori workers carry all her luggage and belongings back to his property, but insists on leaving her piano behind because it is too bulky and too superfluous an object to be transported across the rough terrain. What he doesn’t know is that for this woman, the piano is her only means of emotional expression and a deep and important part of who she is. Neighbouring settler  takes the piano for himself and asks Hunter to give him lessons, though it becomes clear very quickly that he’s more interested in her, and offers her a sexual bargain that she accepts in order to get back her beloved instrument. Eye-popping photography by Stuart Dryburgh is amazing, as is Campion’s consistent skill for framing.

CiBy 2000, Jan Chapman Productions, The Australian Film Commission, New South Wales Film & Television Office

Australia/New Zealand/France, 1993

Directed by

Screenplay by Jane Campion

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  Cannes 1993

Academy Awards
Best Actress in a Leading Role (Holly Hunter as “Ada”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Anna Paquin as “Flora”)
Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) (Jane Campion)

Best Cinematography (Stuart Dryburgh)
Best Costume Design (Janet Patterson)
Best Directing (Jane Campion)
Best Film Editing (Veronika Jenet)
Best Picture (Jan Chapman, producer)

Golden Globe Award
Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama (Holly Hunter)

Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Anna Paquin)
Best Director (Jane Campion)
Best Screenplay (Jane Campion)
Best Original Score-Motion Picture (Michael Nyman)


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