‘Jane Campion’ Documentary Review at Cannes – The Hollywood Reporter
In 2007, to celebrate its 60th anniversary, the Cannes Film Festival commissioned a film omnibus, inviting 36 filmmakers to contribute three-minute short films to To each his own cinema (To each his own cinema). There was a woman among them: Jane Campion. She had the same distinction, as the only representative of her sex, at a ceremony that year honoring the directors of former Palme d’Or winners. In Julie Bertuccelli’s absorbing and insightful portrayal, well-chosen clips of these gatherings of greats pack a punch, capturing not just the rarified air, but the awkwardly glaring imbalance of it all. During a festival press conference, Campion is called upon to comment on the elephant in the room – no, not Roman Polanski, who is sitting right behind her – and she does it with incisiveness and passion.
Bertucelli (Since leaving Otar) looks at how the New Zealand-born author carved out a career in a male-dominated industry. But more than that, she’s preoccupied with the indelible body of the work itself, with its liminal dreamlike states and “voluntary bizarre women”, as Campion describes the protagonists who held his attention for years, until to his recent superlative journey into male-centric territory. with The power of the dog.
Jane Campion: the woman of the cinema
Inspired and inspiring.
One of the strengths and pleasures of Jane Campion: the woman of the cinema is that, with a few brief exceptions, it does not resort to eloquent commentary on Campio; excerpts from interviews the writer-director has done over the years, this gives us his voice (and his laughter!). She remembers the challenges and breakthroughs of directing a production, from her film school years to the movies that put her on the international map. Interweaving his commentary with scenes from the films and making-of images, all skilfully edited by Laure Gardette and Svetlana Vaynblat, the documentary reveals Campion’s sense of humor and sense of purpose.
As the child of Shakespeare-loving theater people, she was probably destined for an artistic life, and her affection and respect for actors is rooted in her parents’ work. Richard Campion was a director and Edith an actor. As an actress herself — a short-lived pursuit and one that didn’t make her heart sing — Campion starred in at least one of her father’s productions. It was when she picked up a camera that she found her calling. And finally, she will lead her mother, who played a notable role in An angel at my table.
Campion is open about the limits of her technical know-how during her time as a student, and she’s equally clear that when she started working professionally, some male crew members treated her with a scandalous impertinence. She got by on the job but never pretended to like them. She assumed her role as patroness.
Entering a male-dominated business, Campion did not seek to compete with men per se. She understood that pursuing the ideas and visions that were “so special” to her would set her films apart. And they did, starting with such memorable shorts as A girl’s own story and Without passion Moments. Transforming everyday nonsense into something strange and luminous, his short films made a lasting impression on me when they were screened in the Back of Beyond series at UCLA in 1988, a landmark investigation into film and television. in Australia, where Campion was now based. Peel, one of the short films she made when she was a student, provoked this advice from her teachers: Destroy it. She ignored their advice. Peel was selected at Cannes and won first prize for short film.
Campion says she understands that some people hate her job. Bertuccelli includes post-screening reactions, yes and no, to two of his Cannes debuts: his first feature film in 1989, My darlingand 1993 The piano, who would receive the Palme, making Campion the first female director to receive this honor. (It would take her years to feel the joy of this barrier-breaking accomplishment, the victory overshadowed by unfathomable grief: the death of her newborn baby just days later.) During the screening of My darling, an outward portrayal of family dysfunction and one woman’s unbridled nonconformity, the filmmaker was appalled by the exodus of viewers. But Pierre Rissient (alias movie man), the critic-curator-programmer who defended his early works, assured him that those who remained were “the right people”. Speaking of good people, a radiant Agnès Varda, leaving the Palace after The pianothe judge “magnificent and “weird”.
The longest section of the documentary is devoted to this dark gem, the story of an arranged marriage on the New Zealand border and a breakthrough for Campion and films in general. Campion explains his apprehension about directing an actor as experienced as Harvey Keitel, who stars alongside 10-year-old Holly Hunter, Sam Neill and Anna Paquin. The director contacted Keitel before production began and they agreed on a plan for how they would work together, a plan that would combine his improvisational approach with his rehearsal-focused strategy. Her candor in understanding and building trust with the actors is lucid and endearing, as is her take on masculinity and femininity, aspects of the narrative that some people might dismiss as stale or old-fashioned. But in conversation and in his films, Campion listens to what is primitive in duality and how women, cut off from official power for eons, channel their secrets and hidden lives into something powerful in its own right.
This power is evident in The movie womanCampion’s scenes at work, and in the clever selection of clips focusing on his complicated female characters – Genevieve Lemon in My darlingKerry Fox as the great writer Janet Frame in An angel at my tableKate Winslet as a New Age scholar in Holy Smoke. There is the unconventional intimacy of period rooms Portrait of a lady (Nicole Kidman) Shining star (Abbie Cornish) and The pianoand contemporary spins on women facing the darkness and horror of crime, in the division In the cut (Meg Ryan) and the widely acclaimed series top of the lake (Elisabeth Moss).
From short films to the Oscar-winning western power of the dog, it’s a filmography that embodies a commitment to self-expression; there may be moments that don’t match Campion’s intent, but none of them are generic. Appropriately, Bertuccelli closes the doc with a scene of An angel at my table which watches Frame in a moment of beautiful idiosyncrasy, yet one any artist will recognize: the moment you know you’ve captured the lightning and shaped it into something new.