Given the current recommendation to stay home and practice social distancing, we at the Chicago International Film Festival are looking at past selections from each year of the Festival that you can stream now from home. Stream our past selections as we look forward to the 56th Chicago International Film Festival this October 14-25, 2020. Find the full 56 Films for 56 Years selections here.
For today’s #56Films entry, Jane Campion’s Palme d’Or winner The PIano makes its statement not with words, but with haunting images and melodies. Read on for the introduction from film critic Boyd van Hoeij and stream the film tonight!
Director: Jane Campion
39th Chicago International Film Festival
Too many films concentrate on dialogue and forget about what images and music might be able to convey beyond mere words. In the image of its mute protagonist, Ada (Holly Hunter), Jane Campion’s Palme d’Or-winning The Piano does the opposite. What haunts me when I think about this particular film are all its images and melodies. That heavy, dark-wood piano nearly sinking into the sopping-wet sand on that desolate, gray beach, as a monument to the unwillingness of Stewart (Sam Neill) to bring home the one means of communication available to his newly arrived bride-to-be, who cannot express herself in words. The dark and restrictive, Victorian-era dresses that are meant to transform women into undistinguishable paragons of virtue, whoever might be forced to wear them. And Michael Nyman’s light-on-its-feet score. Always eager to get to the next note, the music seems to permanently be in a rush to escape the melancholy of its own forlorn melodies, with Ada lured by the promise of another, brighter life when she meets a man (Harvey Keitel), who likes her music and who seems to like her. No anonymous black dresses required. — Boyd van Hoeij, Film Critic