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Posts Tagged ‘jane campion’


When Jane Campion’s masterwork The Piano first hit theaters in 1993, it was only for art house snobs. This was the early nineties, after all, and it was barely just the beginning of a new Renaissance for pensive, arty-fartsy flicks. They were a difficult sell, to be sure. Sometimes they were foreign and subtitled. Sometimes they were depressing or disturbing. Sometimes they were even directed by women, by god.

A lot of your typical movie-goers at the time shunned the concept of a film about trading sexual favors for piano keys. Especially since it was released decades before Lord of the Rings put New Zealand on the map, and probably also because it featured a shockingly nude Harvey Keitel in all his circumcised glory.

But fast forward twenty years to a time when everyone and their mother already knows what Harvey Keitel’s penis looks like, New Zealand is now the new Italy, and even the sexual themes they explore seem rather tame by today’s standards. Now we can strip away the facade and focus on what is truly astonishing about the movie: Holly Hunter.

Holly, who won an Oscar for this basically mute performance, has since tried her hand at a million and one other “strong female” (A Life Less Ordinary, Copy Cat, Saving Grace) roles, without similar success. One could be callous and say that she clearly just needs to keep her trap shut. But her performance in The Piano was about a whole lot more than just not speaking.

SPOILER:

She’s dainty yet strong, alluring yet repulsive, prudent yet perverse, and somehow loud even while totally silent. Plus she gets, like, SUPER naked, both emotionally and physically. It’s fun, and also super rare, to watch an actor click with a role so perfectly.

Holly Hunter in The Piano is effing awesome.


 

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