film screening and discussion
Od–jazd Film Club meeting
The Piano, directed by Jane Campion, Australia / New Zealand / France 1993, 121'
- One of the greatest paradoxes in contemporary cinema: a costume melodrama about following passions somewhere deep in the New Zealand bush hailed as the feminist manifesto of a generation. Is it rightly so?
- Ada (Holly Hunter) is a mysterious introvert. She once stopped speaking for unknown reasons and has since expressed her feelings by playing the piano. Her father marries her off by correspondence to an unknown planter from New Zealand (Sam Neill), and thus Ada makes the long journey from England to the other end of the world with her nine-year-old daughter Flora and the eponymous piano. When her new husband outright refuses to transport the instrument deep into the New Zealand bush, Ada strikes a bargain with an uncouth neighbour (Harvey Keitel), who first buys the piano and then agrees to give it to her in exchange for lessons. As it turns out, however, he is interested in more than just music…
- Awarded three Oscars and the Palme d’Or at Cannes, The Piano of Jane Campion, who was then in her thirties, is a film about the collision of seemingly opposing forces, a lyrical and symbolical story that acquires a highly sensual dimension. The desires of the spirit are mixed with almost animalistic urges, femininity clashes with masculinity, and the need for freedom with an attempt at subjugation. Accompanied by Michael Nyman’s iconic music, Campion makes us rethink and redefine what is taken for granted. She asks bold questions about the boundaries of human freedom and subjectivity – issues which concern not only the 19th-century heroine but also contemporary viewers –, although for some the film teetered on the edge of sentimental dreams of a tender brute from the wilderness.
- What is the difference between woman’s film and women’s cinema, and which category does The Piano fall into?
- A feminist manifesto or a pretentious melodrama?
- Does the eponymous instrument symbolise coffin or liberation?
- We will try to answer these and many other questions together with our club’s expert Kaja Klimek. We invite you to the screening and discussion, during which you will be able to ask questions and share your ideas on how to interpret the film, even – or especially – the most offbeat ones. What do you think The Piano is about? We want to hear your opinion!
- Kaja Klimek
Film and pop culture educator and critic. She constantly discusses films: with viewers whenever the opportunity arises, with filmmakers at festivals, with other critics in the media, with students at the University of Warsaw and SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, and most importantly with kids and teenagers in film education programmes. She hosts the programme Seriaale [Series] on TVN Fabuła and Warsztat Filmowy [Film Workshop] on Red Carpet TV. Recently she has been covering cinema on Dzień Dobry TVN [Good Morning TVN] morning show. Online she is known as Kajutex (YT, FB, IG, TT).
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