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Piano Lessons

Piano Lessons

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Piano Lessons

Approaches to The Piano

Edited by: Felicity Coombs, Suzanne Gemmell

Publication date: 1999
Total pages: 175
ISBN: 1 86462 035 8
Price: £ 17.50


Jan Campion’s The Piano achieved critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993 and its world-wide box office success was followed up by winning three Academy Awards. As a result of these successes there was renewed global interest in the Australian and New Zealand film industries and their products.

Piano Lessons is a provocative collection of essays examining the critically acclaimed film The Piano from a range of differing perspectives. An assembly of international academics, drawn from film and cultural studies disciplines, offers a unique study of a major Australian film. It encapsulates the vision of the film through diverse approaches – auteurist, feminist, psychoanalytic, post-colonial, melodrama and romance – as a major cinematic achievement and as a complex and intriguing cultural product.

The film attracted wide discussion from its critics and its audience. Campion’s quirky cinematic eye gave us a teacup and a wedding veil that became images representative of a transported imperial culture and a piano that shifted from monstrous beauty to an emblem of death. Interesting and authoritative analyses of the film’s textual narrative and representational strategies produce an informative rationale.


Chapter 1 Performing The Piano, by Ruth Barcan and Madeleine Fogarty
Chapter 2 With Choices Like These, Who Needs Enemies?: The Piano, Women’s Articulations, Melodrama, and the Woman’s Film, by Neil Robinson
Chapter 3 Female Sexuality, Creativity, and Desire in The Piano, by Richard Allen
Chapter 4 The Sickness Unto Death: Dislocated Gothic in a Minor Key, by Kirsten Moana Thompson
Chapter 5 In the body of The Piano, by Felicity Coombs
Chapter 6 Tempestuous petticoats: Costume and desire in The Piano, by Stella Bruzzi
Chapter 7 The Return of the Repressed?: Whiteness, Femininity and Colonialism in The Piano, by Lynda Dyson
Chapter 8 From Land Escape to Bodyscape: Images of the Land in The Piano, by Laurence Simmons
Chapter 9 A Land Without a Past: Dreamtime and Nation in The Piano, by Anna Neill
Chapter 10 Birth of a Nation?: From Utu to The Piano , by Bridget Orr
Part 4 DIARY
Chapter 11 Cutting it Fine: Notes on The Piano in the Editing Room, by Claire Corbett

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