Mon 29 Sep, 2003 05:44 pm
Just a few days ago - a rerun of the movie "The Piano" was
shown on the tv. I have heard from quite a few people that
they thought this movie was stupid, meaningless, or just
plain not worth watching.
It may be that my experience in playing the piano has moved
me to understand the fact that, especially for a mute individual,
the piano in this film was the leading lady's only means of
I have seen this movie at least 4 times, and whenever it comes
on again - I rarely miss the opportunity to see it. I have the
same reaction to quite a few movies, if they moved me very
much, I will always want to see them once more - but I can't
understand why so many people don't seem able to "get" what
for me, is such a deeply moving piece of work. I have a very
similar reaction to "On Golden Poind" or "Steel Magnolias"
and even "The Terminator series" not to mention that one
caled "The Negotiator" and even the one where an entire
soccer team is involved in a plane crash and they survive
by eating parts of the dead bodies in the frozen mountainous
region where they are stranded for a very long time. I'm sure
that I could go on and on ... but I would like to hear some
others comments on "The Piano", as well as which movies YOU
can't resist seeing just one more time.
I saw The Piano. Only once, and years ago, but I thought it was quite good.
My secret movie that I keep coming back to is Harold and Maude. I truly think that that movie has kept me from suicide at my darkest times...
The Piano... Harold and Maude...
My kind of folks.
For me it's The Children of Paradise. Whenever I watch that wonderful film, and I see all those extras that I know were actually Jews being hidden from Hitler while the movie was being filmed right under his nose... I think that art is all that can save any of us.
Harold and Maude is one of my secret films as well.
I remember every detail of the theatre that Gord and I went to see it in. One of the tiniest screening rooms of an early Cineplex. Dank, stinky and wonderful - because it's where I saw Harold and Maude first.
I'm not much of a movie person these days, but I can't resist The Muppets or John Waters or anything with Johnny Depp. There's something wrong with you if Miss Piggy can't make you grin.
I really liked "The Piano" too. Photography and story was very good. I could watch it again.
I LOVED "Piano", as did my Mom, who was swept away by the scenery!
I could also watch "Shine" over and over again, and on a lighter side; "Benny and Joon" and "Truth About Cat's and Dogs"
Some movies I can watch over and over. The piano was quite good. This woman manages to overcome all obstacles in order to keep her piano. Critics said it was the only time Holly Hunter ever kept her mouth shut. I'm a fan of the terminator series too, especially the first one.
I also remember Harold and Maude (love that Ruth Gordon) a very offbeat romance. One of my favorite movies is Ground Hog Day. This man went to great lengths day after day to become a person that everyone would like (of course he had all the time in the world)because he did it over and over until he got it right; and yes Miss Piggy does make me grin.
Hi babsatamelia, love your avatar
"The Piano," at least amongst film critics, is considered a **** film (can't imagine anyone thinking less of it unless they just hate this kind of film and would prefer to watch "Dumb and Dumberer?" Here's Ebert's essay on the film:
That's "four star" for ****, not a blanked out epithet!
"Harold and Maude" is regularly show on cable so it's really hard to qualify it as secret or a guilty pleasure.
Well, I didn't like "The Piano" but I saw it years ago and can't recall what my issues were. I saw it with my then girl friend and we disagreed about it. Some critic had termed it a "date film." Well, it surely wasn't for us!
Some found it obscure but visually and viscerally exciting. It was one of the few films which shared the Grand Prix at Cannes. I cannot in all honesty figure out why a critic would call it a "date film." That is almost ludicrously funny.
Agreed. Thinking back, I think what bothered me was the idea that Harvey Keitel's character seemed to be extorting intimacy from Holly Hunter's character in exchange for access to the piano. More to the point, I couldn't get involved emotionally with any of the characters. While that doesn't always matter to me, this time it did, I guess...
The characters were eccentric to the point one could only observe like a voyuer -- it is one of those films that has an emotional detachment in favor of a lyrical involvement with images. It's like watching an animated painting. The dialogue was even rather obtuse -- I guess one has to be in the mood for this film. It shares this to a degree with films like "L'Aventura" which I enjoy immensely on an intellectual level rather than emotional level. The characters in the film all have "ingrown" emotions and were only allowed to see what is happening on the surface and must conjecture what is happening inside. I would find it always difficult to understand and it's impossible for someone to force themselves to understand it. "The Piano" is in that same category. So is Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" but the hiring of a famous real couple in that film still bothers me and always kept me from thoroughly getting involved with the film.
I guess it sure bothered them, also!
I saw this film once and I thought it was dire. Gloomy and depressing. And I hate the music too.
I can't think of one redeeming feature, for me. Sorry.
LW - I enjoyed the review you gave me the link to!
"HAUNTING" Now THAT is precisely the term that I identify with
this dramatic story of a mute woman "sold" to some stranger in
such an odd place as New Zealand. Beautiful scenery, yet so
odd and out of place those Caucasions seemed there. Yes, haunting
& VERY strongly attractive for some reason, at least to me. It
may be because it took ME so long to find my own voice. I relate
very strongly with her & identify with her. Every time this movie
comes on, I simply must see it. In fact, I don't know why I don't
just go buy the darned thing for myself.
*I can understand how one might object to the "bartering" aspect
about the piano keys and how she came to love Harvey Keitel's
character - but I do believe that as the film goes - he would have
given it to her - if he could - simply because he saw her pain in the
loss of it for her AND because he wanted her for himself. Unlike the
man to whom she was sold, who was entirely incapable of really
SEEING her. He didn't even understand her attempts to TRY to
continue to play her piano on a simple table. Keitel's role was
just a mere HUMAN who was at least capable of seeing her deep
need for it. The actual husband was only fearful that he would
have to give his land back - when Harvey gave it to her - and when
he said "I am making you a whore and me a ???? - I forget. The
keys, and these little barters back & forth were a kind of courtship,
a thing she knew nothing about. But as the movie progresses, she
came to enjoy being wanted, being desired and so highly valued
just for who and what she was.
*I can see how someone might find some of the nudity & sexual
scenes offensive - it isn't like Harvey's got the world's greatest
body, but that is part of the beauty of it. I have to admit I admire
Harvey for being willing to do it.
PS - I felt exactly the same way about Eyes Wide Shut.
How they did ruin that film by their choice of actor, actress. Without
such "glamorous" starring roles, we would have been more attentive
to the subtleties of the movie itself.
I loved the film The Piano. I think women directors and writers have it all over men when it comes to filming sexual material.
I also am a fan of the Firesign Theatre which was mentioned earlier on the thread.
babs -- I would have also liked to see the film in, believe it or not, black-and-white!
Actually ... it seemed to me that parts of the movie were
sort of similar to black and white .... due to a simple lack of
color. Of course, this was only when you weren't seeing the
gorgeous scenery of New Zealand. Just last week I met a
woman from New Zealand and had an interesting
conversation. She liked the movie too.