Blu-Ray Review: The Piano 25th Anniversary Edition

When Greta Gerwig was nominated for Best Director for Lady Bird at the 90th Academy Awards earlier this year, she was only the fifth woman to achieve this feat. Jane Campion is also a member of this (ridiculously) elite club. The New Zealand director is also one of only five female film-makers to be nominated as Best Director for a Golden Globe. Both for the Piano. Released in 1993, it picked up three Oscars in total, including Best Screenplay for Campion. It remains her most successful film, both critically and commercially.

Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter) arrives in New Zealand with her young daughter Flora (Anna Paquin) after being sold into a marriage to Alisdair Stewart (Sam Neill), a frontiersman, by her father. Ada has been mute since childhood and relies on her daughter and a beautiful piano to express herself. When Alisdair refuses to have the instrument in the house and abandons it on the beach, she is distressed and cold towards him. Baines (Harvey Keitel), a former sailor and forester who has gone semi-native, realises what it means to her. He trades it for land on the condition that she give him lessons.

First and foremost, The Piano is one of the most beautiful films you’re ever likely to see. Twenty-five years later, it has lost none of its looks. Campion uses the jaw-dropping beauty of the west coast of New Zealand as the stunning backdrop for her febrile tale of obsession, desire and passion. There are great performances all-round but it’s Holly Hunter who steals the show. The Piano is a staggering accomplishment and a timely reminder of how big a loss Jane Campion is for cinema.

Special Edition Contents:

2 Disc DVD: 

Disc 1: Film and audio commentary with Jane Campion and Jan Chapman

Disc 2: New The Piano at 25, Making of The Piano

2 Disc Blu-ray:

Disc 1: Film and audio commentary with Jane Campion and Jan Chapman

New The Piano, Making of The Piano

Disc 2: Original Soundtrack CD

Alternative artwork poster

Booklet featuring new essays by: Film critic & broadcaster Anna Smith, Screenwriter &

critic Kate Muir and Film journalist and Editor-at-large of Empire magazine Helen O’Hara

The special 25th Anniversary edition of The Piano is released on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download by Studiocanal on 16 July.

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