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February 1994


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"Mary C. Kalfatovic" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 16 Feb 1994 02:51:55 -0500
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Can anybody out there explain why Jane Campion's THE PIANO has been so
widely acclaimed?  I found the picture to be pretentious twaddle and its
plot didn't quite add up.  For example, in the first scene of the film
Holly Hunter and daughter are dropped off on a New Zealand beach by the
crew of the ship on which they have come from Scotland.  Hunter then makes
a shelter out of her hoopskirt.  Although this makes an interesting visual
image it doesn't make sense.  Why were they left on a beach in the first
place?  Didn't 19th century New Zealand have a port city?  Also, why
exactly doesn't Hunter's character speak?  What's the reason?  And if the
Harvey Keitel character has "gone native" to the extent that he has
tatooed his face, why doesn't he have a native wife and children?  There
is also no proper motivation for the Sam Neill character to chop off
Hunter's fingers.  I guess we are just supposed to think that all
heterosexual white men are ultimately brutes no matter how they may behave
(All this straight, white man bashing is really getting tiresome).  It is
especially annoying that THE PIANO is getting so much attention and far
superior movies like SHADOWLANDS and SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION have been
lost in the shuffle.
Mary Kalfatovic,
Washington, D.C.