I have read the postings on *The Piano* with interest and find myself caught
among the various interpretations of Holly Hunter's silence . . . I prefer to
view it as resistant and thus look upon the ending, with Hunter learning
to speak, as (disturbingly) recuperative. Also, I'm not at all convinced that
the Keitel figure is a vast improvement upon her finger-chopping husband, for
reasons already covered by others in previous postings.
But do I prefer her dead in the ending that Jim proposed?
> i agree that the film would have been much stronger had it
> ended tragically with her voluntary death in the silence of the underwater
> space--Ada and her "voice" united in self-imposed, eternal silence; the
> Other-world of the depths.
> In the rapture ocean's
> billowing roll,
> in the fragrence waves'
> ringing sound,
> in the world breath's
> wafting whole--
> to drown, to sink--
> unconscious--highest joy!
> -*Tristan and Isolde*
While I see that Ada's death might have provided a stronger critique of the
male-dominated world and forms of exchange which her silence (in part)
protests, it would also mean one more woman dead at the hands of patriarchy
-- not necessarily my idea of any form of "highest joy."
(Why I have trouble with Jim's proposed ending when I admired the self-imposed
exit of the protagonists as an ending to *Thelma and Louise* I couldn't say!)
Department of Film and Television