1:25 AM |
Favorite Songs No. 8 : The Heart Asks Pleasure First
The first time I saw Jane Campion's moody and gorgeous The Piano, I was barely an adult, a kid really, still struggling with my newfound devotion to cinema, and I sincerely felt that I had to mature first before I could ever get the reputed depth of this film about a woman (Holly Hunter, who won her Best Actress Oscar for this role) who chooses to become mute, becomes a mail-order bride, and travels to turn-of-the-century New Zealand with her daughter (Anna Paquin, who became one of the youngest Oscar winners) to live with her new husband. The man forbids her to bring her piano to her new home, and so the piano lies half-buried in the sands of the beach where her dingy had docked. When she defies the odds, he cuts off her fingers with a machete. And then she undertakes a strange affair with a stranger man, igniting the screen with what the critics had called "an all-consuming passion." I was in my transition year between high school and college, and all of these went way over my head. What I did get was the haunting score by Michael Nyman. In the excerpt above, titled "The Heart Asks Pleasure First," that haunting quality to both music and film gets distilled, and gets imbued with a strange hopefulness as well. A few months ago, I rediscovered the piece and it entranced me so much I played it ad infinitum. Why? I don't know. It just got me.