Piano, The (Blu-ray) (1993)
|Year Of Production||1993|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Jane Campion|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Written and directed by Jane Campion, at first this film appears to be merely a nineteenth century romantic tale. But as the story and characters develop, so does the emotional intensity and the dark and moody themes, with a love triangle that ends romantically but tragically: Ada McGraw (Oscar winning Holly Hunter) is a Scottish mail-order bride sent, with her daughter Flora (Oscar winning Anna Paquin), to marry a farmer in a remote part of New Zealand, Alisdair Stewart (Sam Neill). Things begin badly when Ada's beloved piano is immediately abandoned on the beach by her new husband . Soon Ada discovers that Alisdair has traded her piano for some land owned by another farmer, George Baines (Harvey Keitel). Ada is armed with a cold and stony expression. A mute, she 'speaks' through the piano, and desperate to express herself, she begins to secretly trade sexual favours with Baines to slowly earn the piano back.
This is easily Jane Campion's best film, both as a writer and as a director, and she was rewarded with an Oscar for the script. The acting performances by the four leads are all wonderful - these are easily some of the best performances from Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, and Anna Paquin. The lingering and haunting images of the muddy New Zealand landscapes captured by Stuart Dryburgh's moody cinematography and Michael Nyman's memorable and lush score are also stand-out features of this film.
The Piano is presented with a high definition transfer, but only authored in 1920 x 1080i. It has been encoded using AVC compression. The transfer is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, in a native widescreen 16x9 frame. This is the film's original theatrical ratio.
While the Blu-ray's transfer is quite soft and grainy at times, it is noticeably better than the previous DVD. The film has an often dark and moody appearance, but the image is clear overall. There are no problems with MPEG or Film-To-Video Artefacts, but some minor Film Artefacts appear occasionally.
Only English subtitles are offered and they are accurate. The feature is divided into 14 chapters.
English dts HD 5.1 audio is the only option provided on this Blu-ray.
The dialogue quality and audio sync are good.
As mentioned above, Michael Nyman's memorable and lush score is a stand-out feature of this film.
The Piano is a dialogue-based drama, but the surround sound mix carries the beautiful score and provides ambience.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are a few extras.
As with other Blu-rays, the menu options can be accessed while the film is playing.
Inside The Piano (15:07)
A making of featurette mainly comprised of interviews with cast and crew, behind-the-scenes footage, and some clips from the film. It is presented in standard definition with stereo audio.
So far I have not seen a Region A US release.
The Piano is a haunting film that deserves to be enjoyed in high definition, and is worth the upgrade.
The video quality is an improvement from the DVD, but not 1080p.
The audio quality is also good.
The extras are limited, but interesting.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic High Definition 50' Plasma (127 cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Samsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)|