Video Release: February 7, 2012
Studio: Alliance Films
During the 19th century, a mute woman named Ada leaves Scotland, with her piano and her young daughter, to marry a pioneer settler in New Zealand whom she has never met. When she arrives on the island, however, her betrothed refuses to transport the precious piano to their new home; instead, he allows George Baines, an illiterate settler covered with Maori tattoos, to keep the instrument. But Baines strikes a bargain with Ada: she can have her piano back if she will give him lessons -- lessons that soon become erotically charged, creating a landscape of tension, jealousy and revenge.
A mute woman who expresses herself through her piano arrives in 1800's New Zealand to be a lonely man's mail-order bride. When he abandons her piano on the beach, a local man offers to pay to have it taken to his home. In exchange for slight romantic advances, he sells the piano back to her key by key, leading to a crescendo of passion and jealousy between the men. Academy Award Nominations: 7, including Best Picture, Best Director. Academy Awards: 3, including Best Actress--Holly Hunter, Best (Original) Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress--Anna Paquin.
Tied with Chen Kaige's "Farewell to my Concubine" for the Palme d'Or at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. Holly Hunter did the solo piano playing herself (for the soundtrack as well as for the camera) and is also credited as piano coach for the production. Contains scenes with full frontal male nudity. Shot in Eastmancolor. Nokiro Watanabe, who did the makeup and hair, is married to actor Sam Neill, who plays Stewart; she is a third-generation Japanese makeup artist. Colin Englert, 2nd unit director on "The Piano," is Jane Campion's husband. He works as a producer and director in Australian television. The film has scenes in which the dialogue is in Maori, and in which Ada communicates with her daughter in sign language; these scenes are subtitled. Waihoroi Shortland and Selwyn Muru provided Maori dialogue and acted as advisors on Maori culture; Temuera Morrison also acted as a language advisor and helped with the Maori casting. Ken Durey and Waynne Rugg were the special effects coordinators and Tad Pride created the underwater special effects; Peter Long did the title design; Mary-Anne Schultz did the film's choreography; John Harle, David Roach and Andrew Findon played saxophone on the film's soundtrack. Developed with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission and New South Wales Film and Television Office. Copyright 1992 CIBY 2000. Rated BBFC 15 by the British Board of Film Classification. Available in the UK on video, distributed by Entertainment, EVV 1253.