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“The Piano” and “Once were Warriors”

Posted by admin On May - 16 - 2006

Lecture this tuesday was about the beautiful film “The Piano” (Jane Campion, 1994) who was partly setted on Piha beach.

“Jane Campion’s “The Piano” struck a deep chord (if you’ll excuse the expression) with audiences in 1993, who were mesmerised by the film’s rich, dreamlike imagery. It is the story of a Scottish woman named Ada (Holly Hunter), who has been mute since age 6 because she simply chose not to speak. Ada travels with her daughter Flora (Anna Paquin) and her beloved piano to a remote spot on the coast of New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a farmer (Sam Neill). She gives piano lessons to a gruff neighbor (Harvey Keitel) who has Maori tattoos on his face and, well, things develop from there. The picture takes on a powerful dream logic that simply defies synopsis. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful and original achievement from Campion, a unique stylist. “The Piano” won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and Oscars for Hunt, Paquin and Campion’s screenplay.” (Jim Emerson)

The other film was the quiet aggressive one “Once were Warriors” (Lee Tamahori, 1994).

“New Zealand filmmaker Lee Tamahori (The Edge) directed this brutal but powerful story drawn from the culture of poverty and alienation enveloping contemporary Maori life. Rena Owen plays the beleaguered mother of two boys–one of whom is already in prison while the other contemplates membership in a gang–and a daughter whose potential is being smothered at home. Temuera Morrison gives an outstanding and sometimes shocking performance as the violent head of the household, more adept at keeping up his social stature within his community of friends than holding down a job. “Once Were Warriors” pulls no punches, literally and figuratively, but despite the rough going, Tamahori gives us a rare and important insight into a disenfranchised people digging down deep to find their pride.” (Tom Keogh)

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