Visual & Sound Diary is a weekly feature where I explore a chosen film of distinctive cinematography and musical composition via the score, soundtrack and stills. This is how it works: click play on the link supplied of the selected music and scroll through the images. Be reminded and inspired of the cinematic splendour.
Note: the last shot is my pick for the best shot.
Set in the stunning, picturesque, unruly territory of New Zealand, The Piano is one of the most visually spectacular films ever created. The images and sounds are endlessly complementing and succinct, the music raw and simple - engaging seamlessly with movements on screen. The Piano chronicles a strangely unconventional love story that is both darkly erotic and emotionally potent. It tells the story of a young mute woman sent to New Zealand with her daughter to wed a wealthy landowner by arranged marriage. Music is her solace and her piano, a yielder of true happiness. When it is sold, her endeavours to regain it land her in rather curious, perplexing circumstances. The powerhouse performances of Holly Hunter and the vibrant, young Anna Paquin are arguably the best female performances of the 90s.
The score captures the eerie, somewhat spectral nature of the story, highly unusual in the hotly defined genre of 19th century romances. The emotive piano compositions are elegant as they are spirited. The work of English composer Michael Nyman is traditionally understated and although his contribution to film is sparse, the rare musical delights he does forward to the cinema are unforgettable. Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh, in some contrast to Nyman, although harbours a lengthy filmography is not always consistent. His best work, however, is not doubt of The Piano: each shot of the feature is a stunning passage of storytelling triumph.
Shooting Location: NZ - Karekare Beach, Auckland Region