To Dennis Ross
Baines does indicate to the Maori women that he has had a wife "before"--in
the scene in which *they* indicate an understanding of Mr. Baines'
merits. Whether or not there is physical attraction, there is a mutual
longing for touch--as Ada
indicates early on in that most incredible of shots under the opening
credits, when Ada reaches inside the crate and caresses the keys. Whew!
Ada may "not have had a man since she was pregnant"--she may not have
met one she wanted to take into her bed. Baines always made it so she
could leave if she wanted to--he never threw her to the ground and
held her there--one of the most heart-wrenching images in the film.
Ada's feelings aren't repressed in any way. Her anger is razor
sharp; her loving caresses curving inside the very being of those she
touches; her passion rages in her playing. She challenges everyone
with her silence. She is a woman who refuses to speak--not one who is
cowed into silence. Like Baines, I admire/desire her fire and strength.
Thank you, thank you Jane Campion, for Ada and her sparkling daughter.