In The Piano, Jane Campion and Holly Hunter navigate silence – ‘The Spool’

‘“The voice you hear is not my speaking voice,” Ada (Holly Hunter) explains inThe Piano’s opening voiceover. It is her “mind’s voice” explaining that she has been mute since she was six and no one, not even she knows why. There is no medical explanation, so those around her think her silence grows from sheer will, that she is determined and refuses to bend. She can only communicate through sign language, which has to be translated by her daughter Flora (Anna Paquin), or through notes written on a small notepad she keeps around her neck. Yet, she doesn’t think of herself as silent; she has her piano. The music she has studied her entire life has become her form of communication, her way of making noise and announcing herself to the world around her. But, as soon as she lands in New Zealand and enters her new life as the bride of a farmer, she is separated from her piano–it is simply too large to carry from the beach to her new home with her husband. She arrives in her new world voiceless, deprived of her primary means of expression.’

You can read the full essay here.

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