I Love the World, I'm So Happy!
Suffice it to say that, while I've been kicking around the idea of a region-free DVD player for many years, and feeling grumpy and wallflowery about all those unreleased foreign titles that we don't get to see in Region 1, I didn't actually splurge and make the commitment... until encountering the phrase "Commentary from Director Jane Campion and Producer Jan Chapman." At that point, it was about 45 seconds before I 1-Clicked over on Amazon.com and bought this reasonably priced little beauty, which also shows easy, uncomplicated love to those DVD-R's which my normal Toshiba unit so haughtily rebuffs. Anyway, the Piano DVD arrived yesterday in the mail (Tim, you are A DOLL), the player tonight, and...
Reader, I really wouldn't be so asinine as to post about splurge purchases if it weren't such a huge thing for me to see how this movie is finally, at long last, presented. I haven't even listened to the commentary track yet, but the separate on-disc interview with Jane Campion, dating from 2003, involves a full hour of her talking, with no intrusive questions, just reflecting on her film and how and why she made it and what it says to her. I cannot quite describe how this feels to me, given the movie's pivotal role in my life, except to say that I feel a little like Hortense in Secrets & Lies, finally meeting my mom face-to-face (except that Jane, praise heaven, doesn't turn out to be a half-sunken and atrabilious mess).
Showing us her workbook sketches of Ada and Flora from a full decade before shooting started, describing how you summon confidence when working around people much more experienced than you are, laughing about how "this film has probably fucked up heaps of women!" because it describes a mythic reality about possible empathies achieved through surprising channels, showing off her Palme d'Or from Cannes with the relish of proudest possible show-and-tell, and describing how much more it means to her than her Oscar... Jane is an angel. Reader, Nick'sFlickPicks wept. Producer Jan Chapman is also an absolute love in her own 15-minute interview, among other things elucidating what an independent film producer working across continents actually does. (Fact: CiBy 2000, the now-defunct French corporation that financed The Piano, as well as other personal pets like Taste of Cherry, Georgia, The Straight Story, Lost Highway, and yes, Secrets & Lies, was an industrial construction company, owned by un homme who happened to love the arts. I love that homme! Find me that homme!)
Is it wrong that I am leaping all the way to a sweeping conclusion, based only on anecdotal evidence, that obviously the rest of the world truly loves movies and only the U.S. subliminally and neurotically hates them, based on the fact that The Piano (still the greatest movie ever, clearly) is showcased so lovingly and evoked in such telling detail on R2/PAL, whereas the R1/NTSC Artisan disc basically shills it out as though it were Universal Soldier or Earth Girls Are Easy?
Whatever. I am going to go watch my favorite movie again and just hug myself. Later, I'll file an order for one of the few other movies in the world that makes me feel this giddy. Thanks, all, for your stamina through this gush.