Firstly, a massive thank you to our Patreon supporters. Your generosity touches me deeply. These supporters have become the single biggest contributing factor to the survival of DVDBeaver. Your assistance has become essential.

 

What do Patrons receive, that you don't?

 

1) Our weekly Newsletter sent to your Inbox every Monday morning!
2)
Patron-only Silent Auctions - so far over 30 Out-of-Print titles have moved to deserved, appreciative, hands!
3) Access to over 20,000 unpublished screen captures in lossless high-resolution format!

 

Please consider keeping us in existence with a couple of dollars or more each month (your pocket change!) so we can continue to do our best in giving you timely, thorough reviews, calendar updates and detailed comparisons. Thank you very much.


 

Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Jane Campion
Australia/New Zealand/France 1993

 

With this sublimely stirring fable of desire and creativity, Jane Campion became the first woman to win a Palme d’Or at Cannes. Holly Hunter is achingly eloquent through silence in her Academy Award–winning performance as Ada, an electively mute Scottish woman who expresses her innermost feelings through her beloved piano. When an arranged marriage brings Ada and her spirited daughter (Anna Paquin, in her Oscar-winning debut) to the wilderness of nineteenth-century New Zealand, she finds herself locked in a battle of wills with both her ineffectual husband (Sam Neill) and a rugged frontiersman (Harvey Keitel) to whom she develops a forbidden attraction. With its sensuously moody cinematography, dramatic coastal landscapes, and sweeping score, this uniquely timeless evocation of a woman’s inner awakening is an intoxicating sensory experience that burns with the twin fires of music and erotic passion.

***

"The Piano" plays itself with such contrapuntal richness, it resonates in you forever. Set in 19th-century New Zealand, this saga of will, destiny and passion starring Holly Hunter is an extraordinary symphony of sounds and silence, of lilting pleasure and tangled horror.

There's something mystically compelling about writer/director Jane Campion's 1993 Cannes winner. On one level, it's a fairy tale for adults. But on others, it evokes powerful eroticism, sexual mustiness, emotional anguish and numerous other themes.

Ada (Hunter), a severe-expressioned, handsome woman, has just arrived in New Zealand with 9-year-old, illegitimate daughter Flora (Anna Paquin), luggage and her precious piano in tow. By arrangement, she is to marry Stewart (Sam Neill), a genial, tight-lipped landowner. We know almost immediately that Ada is voluntarily mute. She has chosen not to speak -- as Ada tells us in her "mind's voice" narration -- since the age of 6. She communicates by writing notes (on paper taken from a wallet-sized locket around her neck) or, with her daughter, by signing. The piano -- which Stewart and his Maori helpers balk at moving -- is her voice and identity.


Excerpt from Desson Howe's review at the Washington Post located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 15th, 1993 - Cannes Film Festival

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Criterion - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Simultaneously released on Blu-ray by Criterion:

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion Spine #1110 - Region FREE - 4K UHD
Runtime 2:00:49.241        
Video

1.85:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 85,557,677,440 bytes

Feature: 82,556,768,256 bytes

Video Bitrate: 76.38 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate 4K Ultra HD:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2887 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2887 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

1.85:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 85,557,677,440 bytes

Feature: 82,556,768,256 bytes

Video Bitrate: 76.38 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

 

Edition Details:

4K Ultra HD disc

• Audio commentary featuring Campion and producer Jan Chapman

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (film and extras)

• Audio commentary featuring Campion and producer Jan Chapman

• New conversation between Campion and film critic Amy Taubin (26:51)
• New interviews with Dryburgh (9:51) and production designer Andrew McAlpine (12:39)
• Inside “The Piano,” a featurette including interviews with Hunter and actors Harvey Keitel and Sam Neill (15:08)
• Interview with actor Holly Hunter on working with Campion (23:10)
• “The Piano” at 25, a program featuring a conversation between Campion and producer Jan Chapman (30:48)
• Interview with composer Michael Nyman (50:43)
• Excerpts from an interview with costume designer Janet Patterson (17:43)
• Waihorn Shortland (14:08)
• Water Diary, a 2006 short film by Campion (17:53)
• Trailer (2:27)
PLUS: An essay by critic Carmen Gray
New cover by Greg Ruth


4K Ultra HD Release Date:
January 25th, 2022
Transparent 4K Ultra HD Case

Chapters 17

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray and 4K UHD captures were taken directly from the respective discs.

ADDITION: Criterion 4K UHD (January 2021): Criterion have transferred Jane Campion's The Piano to 4K UHD. It is advertised as a "New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Stuart Dryburgh and approved by director Jane Campion. One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features."

The HDR is applied moderately and the resulting image, with a bitrate almost 4X that of the Lionsgate /MiraMax Blu-ray from 2012 (compared to DVDs HERE), is darker - notable in the indoor and nighttime sequences. In the included 2006 commentary Campion discusses her preferences for the darker, blue-heavy, almost 'underwater'-like, appearance. It is gorgeous with rich grain, and a dim-out pitch palette reflecting the period (naturalistic candle-lighting) but heavy, imposing pastels. It's a gorgeous film that looks exceptional in the 3840 X 2160 resolution. True, it is exceptionally low-lit - perhaps the darkest I have seen in this format - but it works wonders for the film with subtleties in the layered contrast that are more expressive in this 4K UHD format. You definitely want your home theatre pitch black for the viewing. 

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) or Dolby Vision, where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. So our captures may not support the exact same colors (coolness of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K system at your home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this simulation representation.

NOTE: 41 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures, in lossless PNG format, for Patrons are available HERE

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages to date: The Great Escape (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Red Shoes (software uniformly simulated HDR), Citizen Kane (software uniformly simulated HDR), Unbreakable (software uniformly simulated HDR), Mulholland Dr. (software uniformly simulated HDR), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Hills Have Eyes (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Servant (software uniformly simulated HDR), Anatomy of a Murder (software uniformly simulated HDR), Taxi Driver  (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Wolf Man (1941) (software uniformly simulated HDR), Frankenstein (1931) (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Deep Red (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Misery (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Silence of the Lambs (software uniformly simulated HDR), John Carpenter's "The Thing" (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Cat' o'Nine Tails (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (software uniformly simulated HDR), Perdita Durango (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Django (software uniformly simulated HDR) Fanny Lye Deliver'd (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, (NO HDR applied to disc),  Rollerball (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Chernobyl  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Daughters of Darkness (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vigilante (software uniformly simulated HDR), Tremors (software uniformly simulated HDR), Cinema Paradiso (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Bourne Legacy (software uniformly simulated HDR), Full Metal Jacket (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Psycho (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Birds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rear Window (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vertigo (software uniformly simulated HDR) Spartacus (software uniformly simulated HDR), Jaws (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Invisible Man, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucio Fulci's 1979 Zombie  (software uniformly simulated HDR),, 2004's Van Helsing (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Shallows (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Bridge on the River Kwai (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Deer Hunter (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Elephant Man (software uniformly simulated HDR), A Quiet Place (software uniformly simulated HDR), Easy Rider (software uniformly simulated HDR), Suspiria (software uniformly simulated HDR), Pan's Labyrinth (software uniformly simulated HDR) The Wizard of Oz, (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Shining, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Batman Returns (software uniformly simulated HDR), Don't Look Now (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Man Who Killed Killed and then The Bigfoot  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Bram Stoker's Dracula (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucy (software uniformly simulated HDR), They Live (software uniformly simulated HDR), Shutter Island (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Matrix (software uniformly simulated HDR), Alien (software uniformly simulated HDR), Toy Story (software uniformly simulated HDR),  A Few Good Men (software uniformly simulated HDR),  2001: A Space Odyssey (HDR caps udated), Schindler's List (simulated HDR), The Neon Demon (No HDR), Dawn of the Dead (No HDR), Saving Private Ryan (simulated HDR and 'raw' captures), Suspiria (No HDR), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (No HDR), The Big Lebowski, and I Am Legend (simulated and 'raw' HDR captures).

Criterion use a 5.1 surround track in a strong DTS-HD Master track with some notable separations from the ocean and occasional naturalistic sounds in the brush. The Piano's beautiful score is by Michael Nyman (Gattaca, Man with a Movie Camera, Keep It Up Downstairs, Peter Greenaway's A Zed & Two Noughts etc.) There is a nice balance with the calmness and intensity of the music with The Heart Asks Pleasure First / The Promise piece as a piercing, indelible, piano theme. The film's audio is impressive its own right - but shines even more nobly in the lossless transfer. Subtitle options include English and English (SDH) and as with all 4K UHD discs, this Criterion is Region 'Free', however the included Blu-ray of extras is Region 'A'-locked.

The 4K UHD disc offers the excellent 2006 commentary with director/writer Campion and producer Jan Chapman. They seem very frank about the production details, as Ada McGrath's (Holly Hunter) character as a representation of silenced females everywhere, her eroticization etc., romantic mythology, Māori culture, sexuality, Fellini's natural cinematography and visual language, details of the Nyman score and choosing the locations (Karekare Beach etc.) It's well worth the time. There are no other extras on the 4K UHD disc.

Included is a second Criterion disc is a Blu-ray and has the film (and commentary) plus is loaded with new and past extras. We start with a 27-minute conversation, recorded in New York in October 2021 for the Criterion Collection, with director Jane Campion talking to film critic Amy Taubin about her process as a filmmaker. In a new 10-minute interview, recorded in New York in July 2021 for the Criterion Collection, director of photography Stuart Dryburgh explains how he and director Jane Campion devised the look of The Piano. We also get a dozen minute interview with production designer Andrew McAlpine who talks about creating the sets for The Piano. It was recorded remotely in July 2021. Inside “The Piano,” is a 1993 program about the making of The Piano featuring interviews with director Jane Campion; actors Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, and Sam Neill; and producer Jan Chapman. It runs 1/4 hour. There is a 23-minute 2018 interview where actor Holly Hunter shares with FilmStruck host Alicia Malone her observations from working with director Jane Campion. “The Piano” at 25 is a 1/2 hour conversation with director Jane Campion and producer Jan Chapman who reminisce about their journey through the making of The Piano. It was shot in 2018 at Karekare Beach in New Zealand, one of the film's locations. Included is a 50-minute interview with composer Michael Nyman who discusses writing the score for The Piano. In an 18-minute audio interview, costume designer Janet Patterson talks to actor Adam Bowen about creating the Victorian-era costumes for The Piano. It was recorded in 2015 for the Oral History program at Australia's National Film and Sound Archive. In a new (2021) 1/4 hour interview, Maori actor Waihoroi Shortland talks about his role as an adviser on The Piano. It was recorded in Auckland, New Zealand. Jane Campion directed Water Diary, a 2006 short film about a child's experience of life during a period of drought. It stars Campion's daughter, Alice Englert and runs shy of 18-minutes. Lastly is a trailer and the package has an essay by critic Carmen Gray and has a new cover by Greg Ruth.

Criterion's
4K UHD release of Jane Campion's The Piano is an a brilliant package. A director-approved transfer of a masterful film; The Piano was a critical and commercial success, grossing $140.2 million USD worldwide with a budget of only $7 million. Sigourney Weaver was Campion's first choice for the role of the Scottish mute woman Ada McGrath, with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Isabelle Huppert as possibilities. Eventually Holly Hunter aggressively pursued the role and won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance. A wonderful choice for Criterion to have brought to
the brilliance of 4K UHD. It is overloaded with supplements including a commentary. It has our highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY and 4K UHD CAPTURE TO SEE IN FULL RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample - Criterion Spine #1110 - Region FREE - 4K UHD

 

 


1) Artisan - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Spine #1110 - Region FREE - 4K UHD  - BOTTOM

 

 


1) EiV (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion Spine #1110 - Region FREE - 4K UHD  - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Best Film  (Poland) Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion Spine #1110 - Region FREE - 4K UHD  - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Optimum (Special Edition) Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion Spine #1110 - Region FREE - 4K UHD  - BOTTOM

 

 


 

More full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K Ultra HD Captures for Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Simultaneously released on Blu-ray by Criterion:

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion Spine #1110 - Region FREE - 4K UHD


 


 

Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Hit Counter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!