The Piano

Featured In Issue 259, January/February 2022

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
The Criterion Collection
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Not Rated
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Jane Campion
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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In "The Piano," when an arranged marriage brings Ada (Holly Hunter) and her spirited daughter (Anna Paquin) to the wilderness of nineteenth-century New Zealand, she finds herself locked in a battle of wills with both her controlling husband (Sam Neill) and a rugged frontiersman (Harvey Keitel) to whom she develops a forbidden attraction. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Jane Campion and Producer Jan Chapman, new conversation between Campion and film critic Amy Taubin (HD 26:51), new interviews with Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh (09:51), Production Designer Andrew McAlpine (HD 12:30), Maori advisor Waihoroi Shortland (HD 14:08,), interview with Actress Holly Hunter on working with Campion (HD 23:10), interview with Composer Michael Nyman (50:43), excerpts from an interview with Costume Designer Janet Patterson (HD 17:43), the featurettes "The Piano At 25" (HD 30:48) and "Inside The Piano" (HD 15:08). the short film "The Water Diary" (HD 17:53) and trailer.

The 1.85:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia
Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, upconverted to 2160p
with greater resolution and luminance, was
photographed on Eastmancolor film stock using Arriflex cameras and sourced from a new 4K transferred master
Digital Intermediate created in Dolby Vision HDR. The color grading was supervised and approved by Director Jane Campion and Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh. While a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is available, it was not provided for review.

The picture is gorgeous throughout with a rich and warm
natural color palette, Hues are perfectly graded with
natural saturated intensities. The greens of the forest are
beautiful and all other colors are nicely saturated. Textural depth is wonderful as well as the nuanced hue shading, all within a fine layer of film grain. Flesh tones are perfectly natural. Contrast is superb with deep natural black levels, revealing shadow delineation and natural lighting. Resolution exhibits fine details throughout in all manner of facial skin complexities, earthly landscapes, clothing and object textures. This is a classic filmic presentation withexceptional naturalness and color fidelity. This is the new Blu-ray reference for this Academy Award-winning film. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack was remastered from the original two-inch 24-track magnetic track. The soundtrack features beautiful piano voicing (actually played by Actress Holly Hunter) and orchestral backgrounds that span the soundstage. Atmospherics are crafted in natural reality within the settings of the beach and forest. Birds tweet, waves crash and every footstep and creaky door is authentic sounding. Foley sound effects are perfect. Other sound effects are realistic as well. Bass energy is subtle but supportive. Surround energy is effectively enveloping. Dialogue and narration are perfectly clear with excellent spatial integration, This is a wonderful holosonic® soundtrack that is lovingly crafted. (Gary Reber)