The Piano is a 1993 film about a mute female pianist and her daughter, set during the mid-19th century in a rainy, muddy frontier New Zealand backwater. The film was written and directed by Jane Campion, and stars Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill and Anna Paquin. It features a score for the piano by Michael Nyman which became a bestselling soundtrack album. Hunter played her own piano pieces for the film, and also served as sign language teacher for Paquin, earning herself three different screen credits. The film was an international co-production by Australian producer Jan Chapman with the French company Ciby 2000.
Alistair Fox has argued that The Piano was significantly influenced by Jane Mander's The Story of a New Zealand River.
The story opens in the mid-19th century, as we meet the voluntarily-mute Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter) whose only form of expression is playing her beloved piano. She and her daughter and the piano arrive in New Zealand to meet a man she's been married to in absentia, a shy farmer trying to carve a homestead out of the Maori rain forest. Sadly, Ada has no interest in him, but she is strangely attracted to their rather earthy neighbor (Harvey Keitel). Wow. This story captures … more