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The Piano

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Introduction

* The Piano,dir.Jane Campion.You can analyze any aspect of this film,e.g., Colonialism (both sexual and political),symbolism,depiction of Maori,Portrayal of male characters,etc. The Piano looks at social patternings of the two main male characters,Stewart and Baines,rules of behaviour in society,their usually unsuccesful attempts to live out their desires,and how each one"s identity affect the others place in the family,community and life.The Piano has powerful emotional themes resonating through it, all dealing with the release of repressed passion. Baines, one of the main male figures in the play,who has embraced the native Maori methods of living, no longer clings to the values of British society, and is therefore quite capable of expressing himself freely, which he does in some strange ways. On the other hand , Stewart views the Maori with suspicion and hostility . Baines is another settler who assists Stewart,especially in mediating between him and the indigenous Maori whose language and customs Baines has come to know and sometimes share.Stewart cannot apreciatte either the need for the piano.Campion"s use of the blasted setting for Stewart"s house,in pointed contrast to Baine"s more ecological integrated one ,depicts the tradition and the use of the landscape for symbolic as well as representational differences between the two male characters Stewart and Baines.Unlike Stewart who has built his cottage in a wooden cottage surrounded my bush and mud,Baines is in harmony with his enviroment. Baines moves between the separate worlds of Maori and white,acts as messenger and interpreter.He has long ago given up any attempt to distance himself and the native people. ...read more.

Middle

He hears her in her silence, while Stewart does not hear her at all. Stewart is never a husband to Ada. His behavior makes Ada look elsewhere, since he is not prepared to give her anything she needs. Stewart slips easily to the role of tyrrant for Ada,since her father chose him as his daughter"s partner.He is presented with a puritan patriarch order. The two men's contrasting relations to the Maoris also serve to give us their measure, perhaps a little too obviously: Baines is linked to the 'natural' people and more interested in Ada than in music. Baines is illiterate but not ignorant. Watching Ada play her piano, listening to the music with which she speaks, he can detect a passion in this woman that he too wants to play.Stewart is a man that values have failed him,although he tries to show Ada his patriarchical figure.Most of the cases,he undermines her like a bargain.He has already accepted her muteness and he thinks that she snob.As opossed to Baines,Stewart denies the affection of love.Stewart wanted to know how she looked ,although Baines wanted to know how she felt.Her muteness fascinates Baines but creates dreadful thoughts for Stewart. Baines, a man with no education,without manners and no restraints the antithesis with Ada,but also the only man the appreciates her beauty and respects her autonomy.He has a sensuous play of touch and smell and that is his language with Ada.Their bodies become the dictionaries and instruments of expression,while the piano serves the smell ...read more.

Conclusion

A man in Stewart"s position ,though deeply repressed in his sexuality,expects to be able exercise his rights over his wife,but even there he fails.His hopefulness about winning Ada"s heart and love is as pitiable as his violence on her is odious.Even Flora does no longer see him as a threat to her relationship with her mother.He understands that he must let her leave with Baines. Sacrifice precedes the powerful resolution of the impossible conflicts in this film. Stewart sacrifices Ada to restore her and he regains himself. Flora finds her own voice when she risks the complete sacrifice of her mother's love. Baines sacrifices land, then the piano, then Ada, and after regaining her, finally sacrifices his old identity entirely for Ada and her love.As far as Ada's side, she sacrifices the piano for her love of Baines, for Flora, and for her own will to live. The film ends with ambiguity. Baines, Ada, and Flora move to a town where Ada, is fitted with a metal finger,which has repaired Stewart's assault , gives real piano lessons and is learning to speak. Baines is there to love her and so is Flora. But Ada dreams of still being attached to the piano in the deep sea. Here we return to The Piano's deep structure of imprisonment and freedom. Imprisoned by silence, by passion, by bars, by men, by New Zealand, by Victorian custom, and by the will that was not her own, Ada escapes to freedom and finds her voice.She unexpectedly finds the voice she silenced as a child and the love she perhaps never knew. ...read more.

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