Ada her nine-year-old daughter and her piano arrive to an arranged marriage in the remote bush of nineteenth century New Zealand. Of all her belongings her husband refuses to transport the piano and it is left behind on the beach. Unable to bear its certain destruction Ada strikes a bargain with an illiterate tattooed neighbour. She may earn her piano back if she allows him to do certain things while she plays; one black key for a lesson. The arrangement draws all three deeper in
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Winner of the 1993 Cannes' Palme d'Or for Best Film and Best Actress for Holly Hunter, Jane Campion's third feature was widely hailed as a cinematic masterpiece. With Michael Nyman providing the music, the story centres around Ada (Hunter), a mute Scottish woman sent to New Zealand with her daughter (Anna Paquin) for an arranged marriage to lonely landowner Stewart (Sam Neill). When she arrives with her beloved piano in tow, Stewart forces her to leave it on the beach rather than lug it through the jungle. The estate manager, Baines (Harvey Keitel), watches and listens in amazement when Ada visits the beach to play and subsequently he makes a deal with Stewart to keep it at his own house. Baines is enchanted by both the piano and Ada and eventually makes a bargain of sexual favours whereby Ada can win back the instrument.