The metaphorical transformations of speech into music and music into sex — like the literal transformations of both sign language and Maori into English speech and subtitles — only clarify the extent to which this is really a film about discourse, including film language itself.
Touch creates its own language. In The Piano (1993), Jane Campion’s gorgeous, Gothic romance, it speaks multiple dialects... The Piano turns on the complexity of meanings associated with touch – desire, control, liberation, risk, power, pleasure, and violence... In particular, the economy of touch between Ada and Baines explores how sexual desire between women and men is a bargain in which power relations are repeatedly renegotiated over shifting ground.