Transcript of 70mm’s The Piano (1993) Episode.
SLIM Hey, it’s your old pal Slim and this is 70mm, a podcast for film lovers. Every Monday I sit down to talk about recently watched movies with my dear friend and artist Danny Haas.
DANNY Tangled is the best Disney movie that has come out since the Renaissance. I mean, that’s a fact. Everyone knows that, so.
SLIM And our own spiritual advisor, Protolexus.
PROTO My other Sam Neill note is, his chest cavity. You wanna talk about V formation.
SLIM We’re kicking off Leading Ladies Month Volume Two, with Jane Campion’s Oscar winning movie from 1993: The Piano. Is this a gothic masterpiece? Or are we flummoxed by love? Find out right now.
[70mm theme song ramps up, plays alone, fades out]
SLIM Should we start with Oscar talk? Danny wants to talk about the big Oscar news. The winners…
PROTO Who won?
DANNY Who won?
SLIM What was the biggest movie out of all of them? Danny, in your opinion, who was the big winner?
DANNY The big winner of the night is CODA.
DANNY Okay? Best Picture. I gave it five stars. Matt gave it five stars. Proto never watched it. But I’m really excited that it won.
SLIM Proto was still in caves fighting, you know, orcs and crabs and hawks.
DANNY Living his life. It’s okay.
SLIM Proto, did you even know the Oscars took place? Or were you, you know, leveling up in Elder Ring?
PROTO Uh, what did I do that night? Oh, I think Jenna and I, we actually she she bamboozled me into starting — well, she bamboozled me into turning on the new Amy Schumer show. I think on Netflix called Life and Beth or something. I would never, you know, I’m like wait is that Amy Schumer? Because I would, I would never. [Slim laughs] But I actually did have a good time watching the first two episodes. She wrote and directed it and shockingly, I enjoyed it, what I saw. But I bamboozled her by not telling her the Oscars are on because she would have definitely wanted to watch that. [Danny & Slim laugh] There’s no way I’m watching the Oscars.
SLIM There was simultaneous bamboozles happening on that couch. Neither one of you were the wiser.
PROTO Yep. Yeah. I got to wake up the next morning and catch up in 30 seconds what it took most people — what? How long is the Oscars? Five, six hours?
SLIM It was a lifetime.
DANNY I was a long time. Felt too long.
PROTO So I think I won.
SLIM You could be the big winner of the night. The big winner of the night is Proto and Jenna.
SLIM Maybe we can Photoshop some kind of Oscar in Proto’s hands at some point. But there was like a million messages in our #awards channel in Discord. There was live streaming happening. A lot of buzz. And I watched CODA the next day after it one. I had to see what the buzz was all about! And the buzz is real! It’s all real. All of it. Quote Han Solo. I cried like a big old baby on my couch with my laptop out watching that movie. Danny was right. I’ll get a clean audio file. Danny was right.
PROTO Put it on a shirt.
DANNY Than you. [Slim & Danny laugh] We’ll get that on a mug.
SLIM And then Jane Campion who directed our feature prezzo this week, The Piano, won for The Power of the Dog. So Leading Ladies Month started off with a bang. Jane knew that we were doing this theme for this month of April. The Oscar committee knew.
DANNY They were listening.
SLIM The voting body. What did you think? Any main takeaways from the Oscars, Danny, that you want to point out?
DANNY Troy from CODA, I was super happy to see him win for Best Supporting. I didn’t realize until recently that he’s also Star Wars fame. He was recently in The Book of Boba and he’s one of the signing Tusken Raiders.
DANNY And he created the Tusken Raider sign language for them to use.
DANY So Troy is next level in my books.
SLIM Wow. How about the translator getting choked up?
DANNY Oh my gosh! Translator was crying.
SLIM That was unbelievable. Yeah, if you watch that acceptance speech and you don’t start getting emotional…
DANNY It was a great speech.
SLIM You’re a robot. You’re an emotional robot. I want you gone. That’s all my takeaways from Oscars. I was watching, everyone knows I was really watching the On Cinema Oscar special with Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington. We don’t have to get into it.
DANNY King Gregg.
SLIM My king, my sweet princes, those two. But Danny, you watched Brave.
DANNY I did watch Brave.
SLIM When are we going to do Brave on this show?
DANNY I don’t know actually.
SLIM So that we finally know figure this out.
DANNY Have you never seen it?
DANNY Have you seen it Proto?
PROTO Yeah, I’ve seen it. Of course I’ve seen it.
SLIM Wait, am I thinking of Tangled? Which do you love more? Brave or Tangled?
DANNY Tangled I love more. Tangled is the best Disney movie that has come out since the Renaissance.
SLIM That’s high praise.
DANNY Yeah. I mean, that’s a fact. Everyone knows that. So we’re okay with this. [Slim laughs] Yeah, we watched Brave. My one of my daughters Jane picked to watch one day and so I’m not going to say no, because I do love that movie. And I wasn’t sure because it’s been 10 years since that film had come out. I mean, most of these Pixar movies, like if you watch Toy Story one it’s atrocious to watch.
SLIM It’s horrifying to see that.
DANNY But man, the animation in Brave has really held up quite well. Especially though the landscape shots in the beginning and even the animated characters still look great 10 years later. So yeah, we watched Brave. And then we found out that George had never seen Monsters Inc. So he threw on Monsters Inc. as well.
SLIM I love how you’re talking about “George has never seen this movie.” George is your son. [Slim laughs]
DANNY I know! But so many movies get played in this house, it’s hard to keep up who’s seen what. So we threw on Monsters Inc., still a banger, love that movie. Casey mentioned in chat we have a lot of children. We have four kids, okay? Can’t keep up with all their love. So we watched Monsters Inc. So much fun. I love that movie. I love Billy Crystal. So much fun. And then Casey and I had a weekend movie date. We saw The Lost City. Sandy Bullock, Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt. What a movie. Three stars.
SLIM Was this on the cloth couch theater?
DANNY No, he went to a reclining seat theater. Love that movie. It was so silly. So funny. Hour and a half good time in the theater.
PROTO How was the chemistry between Tatum and Sandra?
DANNY I don’t know. I don’t know if there was like, I don’t know if you could like chemistry, but they’re funny together. I honestly think Brad Pitt was, blew my socks off made me laugh so hard. I mean, there were some laugh out loud moments in the movie. But man Brad, Brad got me good in it.
PROTO Good for Brad.
DANNY But I do want some more. I would love some more like adventures of the two of them.
SLIM She’s going into retirement. She’s going into like semi-retirement now to be with her family.
DANNY Good for her. Take a break.
SLIM To circle back — trademark — to Brave, why is it that Brave isn’t talked about in like echelon of Pixar movies? This isn’t a troll question. I just don’t know.
DANNY It’s not like the princess story.
SLIM Yeah but people like Moana.
DANNY It’s a Disney movie. I think when Pixar did their first princess-esque leading lady movie. I don’t know if everybody vibed with it as well. I think most people still love Brave, it’s got an underrated score. It’s really beautiful. I don’t know, maybe because she’s not your typical fall in love with the prince, run off happy ending, happily ever after type movie but I really love it. Mer is a great character.
SLIM Could have been our leading ladies pick.
DANNY Could have been.
SLIM Could have been.
PROTO Maybe next year. [Slim & Danny laugh]
SLIM Let’s say hello to some new patrons that joined this past week. Dylan, Edward, Jess and Warren all joined us at patreon.com/70mm. Het access to uncut episodes are. Our episodes in the 70mm vault. We just recently added — what was the most recent Harry Potter we did? Order of the Phoenix. Wow, what an experience all three of us had talking about that movie. And you also get access to our VHS Village to talk movies. Hang out during Oscar night if you’re so inclined. And there’s a lot of buzz in there this week. About this Leading Ladies Month, our theme this month. We’re finally going back. Enough of these dudes.
DANNY Get them outta here.
SLIM Frickin’ had it.
SLIM Proto, did you watch any movies this week?
PROTO I did. I was able to watch the new movie from Adrian Lyne. The movie Deep Water.
DANNY Oh my.
PROTO Starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas.
SLIM The Hulu membership has not expired just yet. You have until the end of the month maybe.
DANNY Hanging on.
PROTO Was this in theater?
SLIM No, it had like a, they held it back and it was long delayed. So everyone just kind of assumed it was like a snoozer, and then it just got unceremoniously dropped on Hulu.
PROTO Okay, well, I gave it three stars. The movie, it’s about the couple. And the wife played by Ana, she kind of has an open relationship. She’s very sexual. Very active in the boudoir. [Slim & Danny laugh] And she has an agreement, they have an agreement together that she can kind of do whatever she wants… kind of? And we kind of just see the relationship play out as there’s these, quote unquote, “friends” who keep hanging around and Vic who’s played by Ben Affleck, you know, he just he just deals with it the way he can. Watching this, I would say the most important thing is I discovered that I really love Ben Affleck as an actor.
SLIM Thank you.
DANNY Oh my! Talk to us.
PROTO I think he is one of the most naturally, one of the most natural actors in Hollywood. He has like a like a depth to his acting. Stuff that’s going on underneath the surface. He’s so natural as an actor. He’s just like very compelling to me whenever he’s on the screen. I just love watching him. And I don’t think the movie, like that the story isn’t that great, but I would my attention was really just held by the two leads. I thought they were fantastic in this movie.
SLIM Was the moment that turned Ben around for you, probably, maybe the seed was planted, was it Zack Snyder’s Justice League? That episode that we did?
PROTO Yeah, I think that’s where the seed was planted.
SLIM You ever seen Gone Girl? A lot of Gone Girl comments in chat.
PROTO No, I’ve had Gone Girl on my watchlist for like a decade now.
SLIM I liked Gone Girl.
PROTO I’d love to watch it.
DANNY I don’t think Ben’s ever missed.
SLIM Let me look up his filmography right now. Goodwill Hunting.
SLIM The Town.
SLIM Pearl Harbor.
PROTO He was great. [Slim laughs]
SLIM Silence. Daredevil. Ah, it’d be fun to do a Daredevil episode. Could you imagine Proto talking about — [Slim laughs] — can you imagine Proto talking about Daredevil for 30 minutes?
PROTO Remember what’s his face in that? Bullseye?
SLIM Colin Farrell?
PROTO Yeah, Colin Farrell.
SLIM Maybe one of the worst performances ever put to the silver screen. Colin Farrell as Bullseye.
PROTO Him and Julia Garner fighting on the — is that where they fight on the playground?
SLIM Yeah. And they fall in love.
DANNY Jennifer. [Danny laughs]
PROTO What else, Proto? Is that it?
PROTO Oh, yeah, that was it. That’s all I got to. busy week for me. Busy, busy week.
SLIM Do you want to provide an update for gamer fans on what the status is of your character in Elder Ring? How are we looking? How many hours into it are you? And what does the future hold for Proto in this?
PROTO Thank you. I have made it through the Lindell capital.
DANNY Oh my!
PROTO Let’s see. You know, Morgot is down. I cleared the catacombs. I don’t know if I’d recommend going in there. There’s still a lot of rats. But I cleared it because I love this game so much. I’m just like pretty much clearing everything. My hours… I will not be revealing them.
SLIM Give us the count.
PROTO I will not revealing the number.
SLIM We can search this in the Xbox app if we have to.
PROTO It doesn’t matter how many.
DANNY We’ll look into it.
PROTO No, I’m hiding that. I’m deleting my account. [Slim laughs]
SLIM You can’t hide it! We can find it out! If anyone has the Xbox app in chat right now, please find out and compare with your friends and show us the number.
PROTO Jenna! Stop! [Slim & Danny laugh]
SLIM Jenna, step on the Xbox immediately! Unplug it from the wall!
DANNY Albin, you know what to do. [Slim & Danny laugh]
SLIM Unleash Albin! [Slim laughs]
PROTO But things are going great in Elden Ring. I won’t be the Elden Lord, maybe by next week. Stay tuned.
SLIM Every week we give away a free year of Letterboxd Pro for folks that share this show on social media. Disclaimer, I’m a Letterboxd employee. And someone talked about their new prints that they bought for their office wall. And that was realnoelgray. They posted some Speed Racer art on that wall. The first of many, I presume. Danny, how did it look seeing that Speed Racer piece up there?
DANNY It looked great. It looked great seeing someone loves Speed Racer enough to buy the art print.
SLIM Former producer of the show Ian, now disgraced, is allegedly revealing the hour count and Proto is at five days, 15 hours.
PROTO That’s not accurate. He just made that up!
SLIM I cannot believe it.
PROTO We’re not even friends on Xbox!
DANNY Can’t believe that.
PROTO Ian doesn’t have an Xbox! [Slim & Danny laugh]
SLIM Holy cow. We already talked about CODA. I think that was the main thing that I wanted to talk about this week.
DANNY How about the ending of CODA? Those last 20 minutes.
SLIM Dynamite ending. Absolutely dynamite. It was purely constructed to make me cry.
DANNY We’re not spoiling it. We’re not spoiling it. Just a dynamite…
SLIM Oh, I can talk about Nightmare Alley! I watched Nightmare Alley this weekend in preparation for an episode of The Letterboxd Show. So I checked that off my list because I knew another guest was going to be talking about it. I thought it looked great. I was kind of bummed that it didn’t actually win Production Design. I thought it deserved it over the whatever movie did win. I can’t remember. But I thought Bradley Cooper was kind of a dud, to be honest. I thought he was just, he didn’t have like any charisma. In my review, I pointed out like he’s allegedly the world’s greatest con man, but I don’t know, he can con his way out of a paper bag with that personality that he had that movie. I did agree that he looked like he would make a great Indiana Jones though.
DANNY Thank you.
SLIM Also I didn’t realize that there was full frontal Bradley, you guys didn’t talk about that, did you?
DANNY Excuse me?
SLIM Did you know that? He gets in the bathtub, I missed it, but when he gets in the bathtub there’s a mirror in that room.
DANNY Well, I’m not checking all the mirrors.
SLIM Did you see that?
PROTO I did not, I’ll have to go back.
SLIM Just saying.
DANNY We’ll have to rewind.
SLIM Tell everyone you know to go back and screenshot. Please no one screenshot that and put it in chat, just preemptively giving a warning do not do that. Try to keep it a safe place for now. I also watched Spencer, a fell asleep at least two times during that movie, I was not vibing for me feeling. So that was my Oscar journey this week. Leading Ladies Month Volume Two. Danny’s pick to kick off the month. Jane Campion, The Piano, 1993 and our dear friend Vontmer’s back again to accompany Proto’s beautiful words. Proto, what is this movie?
PROTO The Piano. Aidan McGrath does not speak. She has a daughter Flora who interprets for her. Eight as one treasured possession is a piano which she takes with her from her home in Scotland, to her new husband in New Zealand. But her husband Alistair refuses to haul her piano from the beach to their home. Unwilling to part with it, Ada insists on traveling to the beach to play it. Accompanied by a neighbor, George Baines, George enraptured by Ada’s music offers Alistair land in exchange for the piano. Once the piano is in his home, George strikes a deal with ADA play for him and she can earn the piano back. Ada agrees and begins a tenuous relationship with George as discoveries are made and mysteries are revealed a new journey for Ada will emerge. From a life that was handed to her, to a future that is hers to decide. The Piano.
DANNY My gosh.
SLIM Putting in work this week. Five days, 14 hours my ass!
PROTO Thank you!
SLIM Which by the way, I’m not sure if I was gonna comment on it just yet. But I saw a new IG account pop up this week. Did anyone else see that? Danny, did you see a new IG account pop up this week?
DANNY I didn’t get a follow back but I saw one.
SLIM Yeah, that was offensive to me. That account is only following one person and it’s Proto. So that’s all gonna say this week.
PROTO Thank you.
SLIM With that said, this is Danny’s pick. What drew you to this film to kick off his leading ladies month?
DANNY Definitely coming into Oscar season with Campion up against Spielberg. When I look back at the past when she lost best picture with The Piano, she lost it to Spielberg. So I that’s when the movie kind of popped up onto my radar. I had seen the poster quite a bit. It’s a great poster, her isolated on the beach. And so it just instantly was on my radar recently. And when we decided to do leading ladies month again, I knew this was my pick that I wanted to do for the month, especially with Campion in the air. And yeah, she just was really, I was really vibing. And Power of the Dog was, I mean, I love that movie. So why not watch another Campion film?
SLIM I just looked at the Best Picture nominees for 1994. So for movies from 1993, The Piano, The Fugitive was nominated for Best Picture.
DANNY That’s a good movie. But Best Picture?
SLIM Is Google like scanning me is as a result. I can’t believe this. So Schindler’s List one the other two nominees were the Remains of the Day with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. And In the Name of the Father. With Daniel Day Lewis, yeah. Oh, wow. What an interesting grouping of movies. Proto, do you have any history with The Piano?
PROTO No, I, I had it on my watch list. And then after I saw the Power of the Dog, I was like, I have to watch more Jane Campion because I really enjoyed the Power of the Dog and her directing style. I would say she, the movie just has like an air about it. Kind of in the way when I watch a Paul Thomas Anderson movie, like there’s some kind of vibe that these, like, certain directors are able to project through their films. And I feel like she is very good at doing that. So just like very engaging, and I was just after seeing Power of the Dog, I wanted to watch more. And this seemed I mean, you know, won an Oscar seem like the one the watch.
SLIM So before we get into each host, you know, three notes that we want to bring up before we give our final rating for our Letterboxd rating. I’m going to reveal a DM this week.
DANNY Excuse me?
SLIM It’s my own message. So I’m able. I sat down to watch this movie. And 20 minutes in, I had to send you guys a text and reveal that. I had been watching The Pianist for 20 minutes. [Danny laughs] Before I realized, I was like, wait a minute. This isn’t the right movie. So I just you know, I had to be honest with everyone. That was a real thing that happened. And then I finally put on the right movie. I was in autopilot mode firing that movie up. So that’s my truth.
DANNY Slim, did you have any history with The Piano?
SLIM No, I knew that it existed. I knew that there was something to do with a missing finger and a piano. And that was literally all I had known about this movie. For years. It you know movies from this era. Um, this is a total outside of my wheelhouse. I’m not tracking down Best Picture movies. You know, up until probably when we started this podcast. Yeah, the podcast is probably the only reason why I would have started to go through the journey of films from this era. I still haven’t even seen Schindler’s List. But I’ll be really frank with you right now. Yeah, I have not seen the Schindler’s List. I should never have been Sooners list in school? No, it was never shown in my school. And if it’s not shown in your school, at least for me. Oh, are you going to be in the mood wash Schindler’s List? Probably not. So. Yeah, that’s just why I’ve never seen it. So let’s start with you, Danny. What’s your number one thing for The Piano?
DANNY Number one thing for The Piano for me is Holly Hunter. I when I saw that she was in this so I did. I as well did not know the story of this. And when I think about Holly Hunter, she has one of the most distinguish voice like I can. Her voice is so ingrained if I heard just a clip of her talking I would know it’s Holly Hunter. And so for her to do this entire movie mute. I was quite shocked. I mean, it’s a shocking thing to see. And to see her do it so well. On top of that, because of The time frame of when this is set in the 1800s. Sign language wasn’t like a universal sign. Language wasn’t a thing. So she created the sign language that they have in the film and taught it to Anna Paquin, which is wild to me. And then on even even outside of that she’s playing the piano parts that you see in the film. Like she’s She also plays the piano and this so it’s just, I couldn’t get over her performance. I thought she was quite brilliant in this with the the amount of emotion that she can portray, and exude through facial expressions and mannerisms and even just, you know, changing a song that she’s playing to, you know, change the mood in the room. I just, I thought Holly was incredible in this film.
SLIM Yeah, I mean, I think Holly won for Best Actress, Anna won for best supporting and this is won Best Original Screenplay for Campion. So you’re right, she might have the most distinctive female voice.
DANNY Listening to her interviews for this, I was just like, man, that voice is just, it’s just Holly Hunter.
SLIM Yeah. I also saw that I think Sigourney Weaver was originally going to be cast in the role as well. So wonder what that movie would have felt like with a different actor.
DANNY Well Holly, when I watched some interviews with Jane, Jane was definitely not wanting Holly in this. But Holly kind of fought for the role because she thought that Holly was too short and wasn’t who she pictured for this. She wanted someone tall and you know, kind of striking. But Holly like called Jane or whatever it was back in 93. Got her on the phone, basically, and just kind of not begged, but said that she could do this role and she kind of met with her and she won Jane over which is impressive.
SLIM Yeah. My number one. I feel more comfortable now bringing this up since you brought up a female in the movie. Harvey Keitel’s body at the age of 54, this man is packing heat in this film. I don’t know what, like you can see, you know, and like when your abs go down, you have that like V formation when you’re working out so hard and you’re eating so well. You can see that like V formation by the hips. What’s he cooking up at his age back then?
DANNY Livin’ in the bush.
SLIM Excuse me?
DANNY Livin’ in the bush.
SLIM He’s doing something.
PROTO Method acting.
SLIM Proto, what do you think of Harvey Keitel in this movie?
PROTO Well, to be honest, when we decided to do Leading Ladies Month, I did not foresee two of our movies featuring Harvey Keitel’s tight ass, as Slim would say. [Danny & Slim laugh] Like who knew?! The first two movies, you know, the first one is kind of just a glimpse in Thelma & Louise, but this, we get the whole package. We get that and more.
SLIM This is more Harvey Keitel movies I’ve seen in the last two weeks, than I have seen in the last maybe 10 years.
PROTO That’s the thing. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a movie with him as like, a leading man. I can’t think of a movie where he’s not just like a supporting character. So even as a like a leading man. You know, it was yeah, I didn’t know really what to make of it. And often also his character. I mean, the first half of this movie really had me on my heels. If I can be honest, please, I couldn’t really get like a grapple on the mood of this. You know, what was going on between these characters? You know, I took a break. I think it was like at the 45 minute mark. And Jenna was like, how’s the movie? And I was like, I really? I don’t know. I think it’s better that you’re not watching this one. Because I just wasn’t sure what to make. Like he kind of you know, he’s kind of, he kind of creeped me out. At the beginning there. Right?
SLIM Yeah, you’re I was gonna ask about, you know, obviously, this is a major point, the movie but, you know, he essentially buys her prize piano, which Sam Neill refused to take from the beach. And says that you can have it back for me, so long as you play in my house and I’m able to do whatever I like to do while you’re playing. So he kind of like gets naked sits on his bed. He like goes down to smaller booths while she’s playing. So he she has agreed to do so many sessions. And before she gets the piano back, and for the most of that, I was like, man, what are people talking about the piano For us, it’s kind of creeping me out. But later in the movie, he kind of agrees with that.
[clip of The Piano plays]
SLIM You can almost say that, like, he wasn’t getting what he wanted out of that kind of odd relationship. He wants her to, like, love him. Yeah. And it wasn’t happening. So he just ended it. At least that’s how I kind of like, you know, prepared myself to kind of be okay and understand the relationship. Danny, how did you feel about it?
DANNY Not much different than you. It was really hard to watch. It’s just something that it was unsettling to just have her kind of sexually exploited for, you know, getting this piano back. And I don’t I don’t know. I mean, Harvey, just seeing Harvey. It’s hard for it’s, I mean, this is not really a knock against him. I’m sure he’s a nice gentleman. But he is just kind of getting to a point where, because she eventually does fall for him. I mean, she does kind of end up and I just couldn’t picture it. How we were going to get to that point because I mean, Sam Neill’s character is very, you know, the complete opposite he’s kind of this old fashioned masculinity. I’m the head of the house, you have to show me affection before, you know for anything as as my wife. And it’s just very weird juxtaposition with these two men in this film. And I don’t know, it was really odd and off putting a lot of the Harvey scenes.
PROTO I think there’s a lot to that is you kind of have to, like glean from and like, infer from what’s going on around one thing as I was thinking about this movie is that it seemed like Harvey’s character George he really, I think he’s, he’s a, like a I don’t know, I guess a New Zealand or but you know, not a native, but he’s kind of adopted the culture. You know, he has an entire culture. Yeah, yes. The tattoos on his face. And it seemed like there’s a few scenes with their culture where they seem like very open about sexuality, like they’re talking about it like, Hey, you have to find a mate. Right? yada yada. But then like, you see Sam Neill, who’s on the other side, who’s like, very austere, very rigid, barely knows how to talk to like a, you know, a woman. So I think seeing that, it seems like it was almost like a clash of cultures as well, near like, Harvey has, you know, this, this, this other view and kind of like this more open approach. And then Sam Neill’s character is just like, you know, completely closed off, which, where Ada is coming from. And there’s like that clash between them, which is just it’s really fascinating.
SLIM Yeah, yeah. It’s almost like I had not seen that enough film before. And it was almost like I’m not used to it. So I don’t even know what to think about about it. But I do want to call up, throwbridge’s, review on Letterboxd, maybe crack up. It’s a pretty long review. But he talks about Sam Neill and his last sentence. “Sam Neill putting in work on those glutes. We’re talking a pair of country lobes back there.” [Slim & Proto laugh] So Proto, what is your number one for this film?
PROTO So my number one is I think the kind of the, the story about why she doesn’t speak is interesting, right? So in the beginning, as the narrator she says she stopped speaking when she was six. She doesn’t know and knows why she doesn’t even know why. But then, at one point, her daughter tells the story, and pangolins character of how she was married to her father. And they were in a forest and he dies. And at that point, she like, never spoke again. And I think it’s just there’s a lot in this movie that I feel like would take multiple viewings to kind of uncover of what’s going on here. Which it’s it’s a very rich movie in terms of like themes and ideas, which is cool. And I’ve been thinking you know, I finished it last night and I’ve been thinking about it throughout the day. And one of the things about just like her not having her voice I think is you know, a clear metaphor to you know, women not having a voice and a lot of A lot of circumstances in life in society. And the one scene that really just struck me so hard is when. After she’s with George, her husband played by Sam Neill basically assaults her and tries to rape her as she’s like fleeing from him outside. And the whole that scene, it’s like, it’s really tough to watch. But the whole time I’m watching it all, I kept thinking, and I was thinking this the whole movie, I was like, When is she going to speak at some point? She’s gonna speak, she’s gonna do something. And in that scene, I just kept thinking, like, she’s like this, she’s got a cry out, she like if she, if she can just yell or speak, she can escape. But then just like thinking that I thought like, how, how not true is that at all? Like, how is like a woman having a voice is often is is as is the same as them not having a voice. And see, and seeing that scene is just like so powerful. Unlike that, of that, you know, that truth? That even with a voice so met with so many women are kept silent in so many aspects of life, so I just found that scene, like, really powerful.
SLIM Yeah, it’s true to even at the end, there isn’t really that moment where, oh, I am speaking like you unlocked it. Hello, I’m back. But because even at the other movie, she’s like, I’m starting to learn how to speak again. Yeah, it’s still gradual. It’s not just like a light switch where, oh, I’m healed. I’m better. And I saw I did see another review, where it did posit the same question about like, how what did cause her to lose her voice? Some people are theorizing that like, she was assaulted at a young age, maybe that is float maybe that’s what where Flora comes from, you know, maybe is a result of that maybe her father. And it’s just kind of like this unspoken thing where that is what closed her up and eventually kind of led her self expression to the piano itself. And you can kind of like expand on your theories from there. Danny, what’s your number two?
DANNY My number two, I want to talk about the ending of the film, where I think I stopped breathing for a good two minutes when she threw the piano over into the ocean and steps her foot into the rope to have it also pull her over and essentially drown her into the sea I was wild is we already have the moment where she cuts to gets her finger cut off and that is such a high like that scene is so intense. And then you kind of it’s kind of over like she’s she’s going off. She’s going with Baines start a new life. She has her piano. Even I was like, Oh yeah, throw it over. That’s awesome. Right when she sticks her foot in for it to pull her over as well. And she’s drowning herself. I was I think I just stopped breathing for a few minutes. I was just shocked. I was not prepared for that kind of I don’t know, ending I mean, she obviously gets saved by the military and pulled back on and she has a kind of inner head monologue about starting her new life and a man what a scene like what a scene to kind of book in this film. Right? And the the visualization of her being pulled down by the piano in the ocean. I mean it was absolutely incredible.
[clip of The Piano plays]
SLIM I think even Jane has said years later that she if she had made this movie now she might have made that the actual ending of her being pulled down and be darker. I mean, that piano looks so expensive. I mean, just dumping that piano in the ocean. Yeah, God Yeah, that scene was was nutty. I mean because you’re right, it tricks you into thinking up she you know she’s metaphorically leaving leaving everything in the past she’s moving on. Oh shit. No, she’s, she’s going down with it. And she’s going down with her past.
DANNY It’s so well shot too, leading up to it like the shot of her putting her foot in. I don’t know what it was about it, but it struck me as like, like, I don’t know. It was, it got me good.
SLIM Sarah says in chat, “That’s what I’m saying. The actual ending made it a super weird take on feminism to me.” I did see some reviews that were, you know, questioning what this movie’s role is in that discussion. So interesting way to end the movie.
PROTO Well, I think isn’t it open ended as to what happens? Like, couldn’t you say, I feel like it’s like one of those, it’s like a double ending. Where it’s kind of like, choose your own adventure. Did she escape and continue on? Or did she just let herself sink to the bottom? That’s how I interpreted it. Which is, which is a powerful way to, to end a movie. Um, I I feel like this this ending. I haven’t been struck this hard by an ending since probably parasite ly. Oh, yeah. Yeah, the the the last 10 minutes of this movie is this is really something else. Tell you what, like it. It’s yeah, it’s it’s beautiful, the way it’s shot. And like you’re saying just, you know, the metaphor of the whatever the piano represents. And that’s even that’s even like a complicated thing. It’s this thing that she seems to love dearly. She’s She’s gifted as all get out, you know, playing it. But then it is also like this weight that she’s lugging around with her that she that she she won’t even leave on the beach. Yeah. And then also just like the I don’t know, what it might represent, but just I thought the finger looked amazing. Well, it there is like some really cool stuff that I wasn’t expecting in this like that felt. I mean, it feels like kind of like steampunk. But then how about like her having like paranormal abilities to like, telepathically speak to people in their minds?
DANNY That was very interesting.
SLIM I didn’t really pick up on that until after the movie. I read the wiki. And there’s that first part about the mental watcha-ma-call-it. And then she said, you know, Sam Neill hears her voice at one point, and tells him to let her go. And then he goes to Baynes and say like, Have you ever heard her speak before? And that’s kind of what like freaks him out and triggers him to release her from his custody, pretty much so I didn’t know how to interpret that, to be honest.
PROTO Well, I thought those scenes, I felt like they were effing with me, because the what? Whatever Jane Campion was doing the way it was shot. I thought I was hearing her speak. It was weird! [Danny laughs] Did anyone feel that way watching those scenes?
DANNY I don’t think so. But I’m liking this take.
SLIM Proto had an experience.
PROTO Because I think Harvey’s character has that experience because there’s one point where he leans in and he says, you know, whisper to me, and it seems like he he gets something from her. But it’s that he, you know, he’s hearing her, not through, you know, her speaking but in a different way.
SLIM Omar has a great comment. “I took that as them trying to gain empathy for the first time.” Those male characters. My number one, number two, were solely on number two. My number two is Ada playing the piano on that New Zealand beach. Holy cow. That is gorgeous. I mean, it looks gorgeous. And you’re playing the piano on a friggin beach. I mean, how great must that must have sounded. No wonder Harvey Keitel is instantly transfixed with her and how he feels. Oh my god, can you imagine just hanging on a beach and someone playing piano like that?
DANNY It needs to be on every beach.
SLIM Holy cow. Also, this is tied into one of my other honorable mentions, but I mean, just New Zealand as the setting, you know, any other move is in like, Britain, England, you know, and you get, you know, just old ass house mansion. But I love the setting. I love this was in New Zealand, I love that it added, you know, definite twist, quote unquote “gothic” nature in some of these scenes, but I love that a lot.
PROTO It made it feel very foreign. I didn’t really know what to make. I couldn’t really get a footing on even like the time period. And then you know that they’re that they land on this beach. they hiked to this place. And it’s just mud. Yeah, like somewhere. What are you doing? Where are you living? And then it seemed like it seemed like they were kind of alone. But then as the movie goes on, there’s a lot more people there. I was like, oh, okay, this is you know, this is like a real community. But I think that was another thing that kind of had me off balance is that I wasn’t even really sure where we were and what was going on.
SLIM Danny, number two?
DANNY Number two. It’s really just Sam Neill and Harvey. I just there was something pretty amazing about their performances in this and how polar opposite they were, as men in ways of, I don’t know, and the way in the ways that they treated Ada and I liked I just I don’t know, it’s really hard to explain this film. I watched it twice this week. And I, I just couldn’t get over how good they were in this film, alongside of Holly and even Anna, like, every, every performance in this film just felt, I don’t know, really just great. I mean, I just I don’t know how to explain it. That and pairing with the cinematography of this film, changed direction. I mean, I was kind of taken by this film, I really was.
SLIM You know, Sam Neill’s character was so insufferable. And at the same time when he is realizing that he has no emotional connection, no emotional connection to her. And he’s trying. Like there are scenes where he’s just like laying in bed with her, almost trying to force a spark just by laying there and he can’t get it and also when he sees them canoodling in his house and that dog likes comes up.
PROTO Oh my god! Jane, please!
SLIM Please! So yeah, I thought Sam was amazing in the role. There’s one scene that I want to point out where they’re on the hill, they’re like hammering these posts down. Do you notice how lightly Sam Neill was hammering that post? It was almost like he was that extra in that Bond movie doing that fake sweep and wasn’t even sweeping the ground. Sam, please.
PROTO I thought this could be like a some kind of tie into Possession with his character. He had just seen crazy energy that he had in that movie.
SLIM Sam Neill energy. There was one number one other Sam Neill scene down. He asks her, are you feeling better? And and it was like right after he lopped off her finger. Oh you mean my finger that you just cut off? Yeah, I’m feeling better now.
DANNY That scene was nuts, too. Oh my god.
SLIM Yeah, that was brutal. I don’t know how we only got one finger.
PROTO My Sam Neill note is, his chest cavity. Did you guys notice this? [Danny & Slim laughs] You wanna talk about V-formation. I don’t know what’s going on with his ribcage. I need that investigated.
SLIM No other podcast analyzes the male form like this one. I dare you to find another one. I dare you. Proto, what’s your number two?
SLIM Three? Danny’s out. Danny’s already given us three but Proto’s on two.
PROTO So there’s some really beautiful, just beautiful shots in this. Two that I love. The first one. When they get, when they get the piano back. And it’s clear that Ada is having feelings for Georgia at this point. And she won’t play the piano. And but her daughter does. And then there’s this really long extended shot of just like into the woods. Do you guys remember the show?
DANNY Yeah, yeah, definitely.
PROTO God, it was just there was the combination of what came before and then this like moment of contemplation of like peering into the woods was just like so beautiful. I was like really struck by the quiet moments in this there because there’s so much that isn’t said. And then that I found that also true with the the male characters, which is so fascinating. Was that it there were so many points where they couldn’t speak either. It’s like they lost their voice, which I found really fascinating.
SLIM I was gonna say we talked about legalized gambling. I’m wondering if I was gonna give five star right now. I’m thinking of all these feature bets that have been placed this week that might be thrown asunder from Proto’s rating, very unexpected.
PROTO Another beautiful shot though is when at the end when they’re leaving, and they have all their luggage on the beach. And it’s just a picture of her sitting there, facing the ocean. My god that looks like a painting that was really gorgeous.
DANNY What was also crazy is watching. You mentioned this earlier about just Jane Campion and her style. Watching this in the Criterion in 4k, it’s wild to see a movie like to watch Power of the Dog and all the things that visually that I love about Power of the Dog and her pacing and how she tells that story. She hasn’t changed like she’s been doing this kind of amazing directorial stylings since 93 like I was watching, just watching This film I’m just like, man, she’s she’s been this good for so long. It’s just I was blown away.
SLIM Yeah, I meant to ask, so you watched the 4k disc, or when I were not able to obtain a 4k disc in time for recording but how was it? How’s it look?
DANNY It’s gorgeous. It really is and it it really does her wide shots of New Zealand quite well it’s it’s, it’s insane. I mean even the rain scenes with Alistair’s height and kind of all that. It’s just it’s it’s kind of worth it really is.
SLIM My number three, it was just the style. So I’ll piggyback on Proto’s thoughts. I do wish that I did watch the vlog, I will say the 1080p version that I watched looks great. This movie has such a specific style to it visually. And we talked about how Jurassic Park came out the same year, but it’s like these movies are two different universes. You know, like, it’s just boggles the mind. I mean, I guess it’s maybe it’s pretty simple to shoot a gorgeous movie on that New Zealand beach, maybe, you can make it look, look really well easily. But damn, it look good, the whole thing look good. So I think that might be my number three. My final point. So maybe we go back to Proto for Proto’s final one.
PROTO Speaking of the style, there’s actually reminded me of like a Werner Herzog film, he often a lot of his movies are shot in exotic locations. And the you know, he I think he’s notorious for not really having a script. And I kind of felt that watching this, you know, one of my notes is, you know, where and what the hell is going on, in this movie. It just like cuz there isn’t really much the first half, it’s really hard to have a sense of you know, where it’s going. And then the middle portion has a turn, where it’s like, okay, there’s something going on between Georgia and Ada, and trying to make sense of even now seeing the whole thing of what even happened with their relationship. You know, does she love George? Did she always love him? And she was like, you know, just like holding him at arm’s length. Um, did it grow on her? Was it his? Did he have something like his ability to connect with her in some way? Because by the end of this, there’s like that, that wonderful scene where she’s practicing, speaking by just really just like doing the alphabet. And, and he comes up to her and they have like, this really tender moment, where it’s like, clear that they, they they love each other deeply. But it’s, it’s, I would say this is like a love story. But it’s it’s hard to nail down.
DANNY Yeah, one of the things that I was thinking about was, for me, the metaphor of the piano is the mean that is her voice. And when she realizes, like, while she’s playing outside of any sort of sexual advances he made, he’s still he’s still loving her for you know, her, like her ability to play the piano and he’s loving watching her perform. And I think there’s something there’s something to that of, you know, having someone recognize you for your talent, or her voices the piano I think there is something there to how she recognized that he was you know, falling in love with her because of that. There’s there is something there for sure.
SLIM Mmhmm. I agree that Sarah’s vehement that there was no love to be had the piano was the only love story in chat. I do agree that this is a very thought provoking relationship between the two of them. I did see in one review, pointed out that, you know, once he finally once she she agreed to give in to his advances, his first move was to get on his knees and and take care of her first. So I thought that was a kind of like not so subtle showing of their relationship and how it progressed from that moment on. So I thought that was a great note in one review that I read. I think this is a gorgeous movie. I appreciated that it made me not understand and think about the relationship in a way that other love stories, maybe don’t maybe it’s like completely obvious. You know, that’s not It’s not thought provoking. But this one was. So I’m at four stars for The Piano, for this viewing.
PROTO I was not vibing with this to start, but it is a movie that grew on me, until it really was barreling towards the ending, like this movie really picks up momentum. I don’t even I feel, there’s other movies like this. I feel like there should be a term for it, I’ll have to think of it.
SLIM Trademark it if you do.
PROTO The end of this really blew me away. I mean, I meant to look up like the last line of it. It sounds like a poem. I don’t know if it’s a it’s like a famous poem, like this last lines of the movie, but really beautiful. And that final shot of her at the bottom of the ocean. Good gravy. Just really gorgeous. So this movie, and I’ve been thinking about this movie all day. It really won me over in the end. So I’m at four stars as well.
SLIM Four stars from proto and now the the hosts that chose this movie, let’s hear your final thoughts and rating.
DANNY Watching this twice, and not really knowing where it was at and both times finishing it just kind of, you know, still contemplating what I watched the story itself, but realizing that there is, this is an incredibly beautiful film. I love the performances. The cinematography is gorgeous. And as proto said, There is something about this whole kind of snowball effects that this film how it just gets to the end, and it really does barrel towards that finish line. And so I think I’m right there with you guys. I think I’m at four stars as well. It’s a pretty incredible film.
SLIM Yes. What a way to kick off Leading Ladies Month. Great pick.
DANNY You’re welcome.
SLIM Glad I can check this off my list. Next, we have some emails. So let’s head to our emails. You can shoot us one at firstname.lastname@example.org or voice memo or an old fashion text. This comes from Scott. When honoring the leading ladies in cinema do you take into consideration the Bechdel test? Have you ever talked about the Bechdel test? As for May, can I suggest NC-17 films that would be awkward to watch with your parents month? The Bechdel test. As Scott is explaining to me, Scott is mansplaining, the Bechdel test may be asked to have at least two named women in it, who talked to each other about something else besides a man and that is from Scott. So thanks for the Mr. Scott. Danny, your thoughts on NC-17 films month?
DANNY I don’t see any reason that we will ever cover NC-17 movies, but so that’s probably never going to happen. The Bechdel Test? I don’t I mean, I have thought about it. But I really just I don’t know I was going for like a stack house with Campion and Holly Hunter and winning the Oscar for these films. So yeah.
SLIM Big time stacked house. I have heard of that. And I did not think of it when I took into consider my consideration for my pick. But it is a test that more people should know about. We’re not really an NC-17 pod. Just not our vibe, you know?
PROTO Yeah. Even back in the day, I think the first year we were gonna do a certain movie. And then we switched gears because it was NC-17.
SLIM I remember that movie. Was going to have a guest too. It was real early on. It was like, like an episode like five
DANNY It was like last summer I think.
SLIM It was way early on.
PROTO Yeah, I think it was really early.
DANNY We’re not thinking the same movie.
PROTO Oh, it did happen twice. Wow.
DANNY Oh, no. Yeah, you’re thinking of a more recent event. Thanks for the email, Scott. I think we have another one to get to. From Robert. A subject line: The piano and sad piano theme. Hey 70mm pod, I was very excited to hear Danny announced The Piano as a first leading ladies month movie. The first time I saw it was in film study class in my first year of college, and I was not ready to appreciate the incredible direction performances and complexity of the relationships like I am now. I was also definitely not expecting the nudity, but I’m sure you talked plenty about that already. After rewatch Power of the Dog is still my favorite of Campion’s, but the piano isn’t too far behind. After the mention a few episodes ago of how you guys needed a sad version of your theme song, I thought this movie would be an apt one to send my amateur attempt at making a somber piano cover of the exciting theme. I hope you enjoy or at least inspire someone else to do even better. Vontmer’s eyebrows just went up at this email. He’s in the studio with us, he’s in the corner with his piano. Thanks for all the awesome work that you all do. Movies wouldn’t be the same without you guys and the community you started. This is from Rwt_chats in chat right now. Alright, here we go. Let’s see what we got here.
[piano music plays]
SLIM I think that was pretty good to be honest. I agree. Is he gonna end the show proud? Proto, should we end the show with sad 70mm sad. That’s the file name.
PROTO Sad. [Slim laughs]
SLIM Thank you very much, Robert. It was beautiful. I agree. Maybe we do need variations of the theme. That’d be pretty cool. We’ll have to talk to our people. I think that is it for feedback this week. So now it’s time for me to reveal my pick for next week. A lot people were trying to get into my pick pants. They were trying to get me to say Kill Bill. And I thought about Kill Bill. I was like maybe it’s time for us to go hoard for Uma, you know, the big one.
DANNY Excuse me.
SLIM But I didn’t want to visit some main reason and pick Kill Bill is because I felt like I, I think we’ll all love it. You know, and I wanted to go in a different direction.
PROTO Leave room for hate.
SLIM I wanted to leave room for hate. I wanted to leave room for a different kind of discussion. So one of my other potential picks was going to be The Apartment with Shirley MacLaine. But I wasn’t sure if she was really technically the lead of that. So I also, you know, that was another reason why and you know, she’s the only real woman in the movie.
DANNY A lot of pivoting.
SLIM Did a lot of pivoting. So I have had one movie in mind for my pick. I felt like this is you know, great female cast. And I think it will create a pretty fun discussion. Good or bad. Because this is a pretty divisive movie according to the average Letterboxd ratings in our group. I think you both have seen it. But it’s my pick, we’re going with the queen 2018 Natalie Portman in Annihilation.
DANNY Oh my.
SLIM This is the movie that knocked my 4k socks off. So I’m really excited to watch it again. And talk about this science fiction film. I had a lot of fun on this rewatch. There is some great visual effects in this. And I think we’ll have a fun conversation to dig into the meanings of this movie. Proto, what do you think about this pick?
PROTO This is great. I I’ve been wanting to rewatch this so especially in 4K. I remember that review coming in you weeping on your floor, tapping that one out into a Letterboxd. Yeah this this is awesome. Yeah, I didn’t even I you know, I didn’t really think of this. But yeah, you look at this. This cast Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson. There you go.
DANNY Oscar Isaac.
SLIM Oscar Isaac in a smaller supporting role. So we’re going to be getting a great cast for the majority of this movie. So this this does pass the Bechtel test.
DANNY Two for two.
SLIM Two for two. You know, this is streaming I do want to point out for folks that don’t own it or don’t want to run it streaming on America’s network Paramount+ right now. So if you want to get that free trial. Sarah says “lol watch them talk only about the boys in every scene” Kevin says it’s available in 4k on Paramount Plus, there you go. Holy moly. All right. Okay. All right Proto, we’re kicked off the first week. Any closing thoughts take us into next week?
PROTO Closing thoughts? I don’t really have anything but I’m really excited, so far so good. Great pick, Danny, The Piano.
DANNY Thank you.
PROTO Does Jane Campion miss? I guess we’ll have to find out, watch the rest of her movies. I plan on doing it.
[70mm theme ramps up, plays alone, fades out]
SLIM 70mm is a TAPEDECK production with original artwork provided by Danny Haas. Spiritual guidance and VGER, the robot who loves movies created by Protolexus. Producer emeritus Dale_a. Transcript provided by Sophie Shin. Prints and other merch are available on 70mmpod.com. This episode was mixed, edited and produced by me, Slim. Support our Patreon for access to the VHS Village Discord to talk movies with new friends, access to exclusive episodes, discounts on merch, and a physical membership card mailed to you. To check out other TAPEDECK podcasts, find the link in the episode notes. And if you’d like to support our friends at Letterboxd and upgrade to Pro or Patron status, you can do so with a 20% off discount using the links at 70mmpod.com. Goodbye!