How it should have ended

IF filmstrip
I was interested to read this morning that award-winning film-maker Jane Campion thinks her film The Piano should have had a different ending.

I agree with her. It’s a good film, but Campion missed the opportunity to create something truly great. Not that I’ve got anything against pianos, so long as they don’t try to take over my neighbourhood or cook their smelly foods around me.

Campion’s biggest mistake was in choosing a bulky musical instrument. All those shots of people lugging that bloody great piano about could have been done away with if she had just chosen a more sensible instrument to film, like a flute or recorder. A tambourine or a triangle would have been no trouble for anyone.

But let’s not dwell on Campion’s choice of instrument, because despite my many letters to her expressing indignation at her decision to spoil a perfectly nice beach by dumping a piano on it, she has steadfastly refused to remake the film.

Could the ending have been improved? Towards the end we see the heroine Ada dragged underwater by a rope tied to her beloved piano. She kicks free and is saved, but Campion now says that she wishes Ada had died.

I agree that the ending was weak. I can think of any number of other possible endings, and I hope someone takes the opportunity to remake The Piano and put things right.

Here are some suggested endings for them to work with:

  • A wizard rescues Ada from drowning, gives her a magic ring, and tells her she must take it to a distant land to be destroyed. A series of sequels follow exploring the adventures of Ada and her companions.
  • Just as Ada is about to expire she is rescued by a time traveller in a blue box. She becomes his companion, and together they save the Earth from a Dalek invasion. After three series together she is tragically trapped in a parallel universe.
  • Ada escapes drowning, then decides to get even with all the people who have ever wronged her. She returns to shore and builds a robot army. Numerous sequels follow, all produced and directed by Michael Bay.
  • Ada suddenly realises as she is dragged down to the bottom of the sea that she is already dead, and that all the people she met and interacted with didn’t even know she was there.
  • Ada suddenly wakes up and realises it was all a dream. She is just an ordinary 21st century housewife. Someone is knocking at the door. It is a fit moustachioed tradesman, and he is here to fix the sink. He fixes the sink, and then he asks her if she has anything else that needs seeing to. She puts her hands down his pants. You can see where this is going. R18.
  • The character who plays Baines, Harvey Keitel, rescues Ada from death. He then reveals his true identity. He is cop on holiday in New Zealand after years on the mean streets of the Bronx. The years have left him jaded, cynical and corrupt. Baines offers Ada a snort of cocaine, and they get high together as the closing credits roll.
  • Ada dies but returns as a queen of the Undead. Baines and Ada’s daughter Flora must now save the world from a zombie apocalypse. Numerous sequels, etc.
  • Ada dies. As the last shot fades out we see the word “Rosebud” written on the underside of the piano.
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