Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thanks for the Memories, Jane!

December 3: To you, just a Wednesday, with perhaps a gleam of specialness for being Julianne Moore's birthday (very commendable of you to remember). But for me, the 15th anniversary of the first time I saw The Piano, alone, at a matinée screening across the street from my public high school in Fairfax, Virginia. Nothing was ever the same afterward, and it still isn't. A giant (tuning?) fork in my road. My "mind's voice," in Ada McGrath's terms, is still hugely influenced by this film.

So, please permit a day-long interruption in the Favorites entries while we celebrate 15 gorgeous and clickable images from my actual favorite movie ever made, which would certainly top the countdown if it weren't disqualified by also being one of the best movies ever made.

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Blogger Sam Brooks said...

This is the movie that I consider to be the best output that my home country, New Zealand, has ever put out; and I'm glad that you think so too. Campion is so underrated here it's not even funny.

Awesome tribute!

7:35 PM, December 04, 2008  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

i so wish that Campion would work regularly. sigh

8:53 AM, December 05, 2008  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

I hear you both, and I appreciate you taking my little gallery tour. I am so, so hoping that her Byron project is working out well. And I'm still trying to find that Water Diary short that played at Cannes a few years ago...

8:22 PM, December 05, 2008  
Blogger Sam Brooks said...

Another one to watch out for that really should be on DVD by now is her segment in the Chacun son cinema... collection of short films; saw it at the film festival and loved it.

4:21 AM, December 06, 2008  
Blogger Colin Low said...

In this selection of frames, Nick, you've actually alighted on two that give me pause about this otherwise-unremittingly arresting masterpiece. The first is the Mr-Stewart's-eye-view shot of his milky tea, which comes off as the most self-consciously "askew" shot amidst the daguerreotype peepers and trembling fans. What the accompanying narration of "There's something to be said for silence" coupled with the clinking of the teaspoon reminds me most of, recently, is that notorious shot of the wrapper uncrinkling on the countertop in No Country for Old Men, which you've claimed elsewhere seems like a somewhat-gratuitous attempt to show off the foley work. For a rare movie that so often grabs you into the immediate feeling of the scene, where you can feel Ada's intake of breath, the caress of the piano or her husband's skin under her fingers, this distancing, hyper-aware shot really took me out.

The second shot I have problems with, in a far more minor gripe, lingers too long on the back of Ada McGrath's head, as though the point were to observe her hair bun instead of her vision of the forest (that she's literally seeing -- or is that her mind's eye?). Obviously, that extra second or so appears to exist just so the images can sync with Michael Nyman's beautiful score, but surely they could have found a less jarring compromise?

8:39 PM, December 07, 2008  

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