Jane Campion, 13th Lumière Award

It was during her adolescence that Jane Campion had the revelation of cinema when she discovered

(1967), recommended by his mother and who encouraged him to welcome Luis Buñuel into his personal pantheon, who would later be joined by Francis Ford Coppola and Spike Lee. A brilliant director of actresses, Jane Campion has always known how to draw wonders from her female performers, whether they are Geneviève Lemon and Karen Colston (

the first having also been awarded at Cannes), Nicole Kidman and Barbara Hershey (

for which the second was nominated for the Oscar for Supporting Actor), Kate Winslet (


Jane Campion was born in 1954 into a family of artists in -Wellington, New Zealand. Her mother is an actress and poet, her father a farmer runs a theater. As a youngest, she found herself in constant competition with her older sister, Anna (with whom she would later write the screenplay for Holy smoke), which inspires her the first two words she pronounces: “Me too” (“Me too”). Six decades later, the #MeToo movement, of which she declared that “it represents the end of apartheid for all women”, above all embodies a march towards parity in favor of which she fervently militates. To the point of having taken over from Agnes Varda since her death in 2019, she who has become a somewhat unwilling pioneer: the first woman to win the Palme d’Or, but also the second of her gender to compete for the Oscar for best direction (after the Italian Lina -Wertmüller whom she admires) and the first director to chair the Cannes jury in 2014. This same year when she takes the time to defend on La Croisette the book that then comes from dedicate Michel Ciment to him, Jane Campion by Jane Campion (ed. Cahiers du Cinéma), and affirms during his presentation that his “films are born from an idea, an energy, a strong need, which sometimes will not appear in the final cut”, but also admits: “I like that art overtakes me, overwhelms me, that it takes me like that, without my necessarily understanding why.”

It was already graduated in anthropology and painting, an art for which she did not feel really good, that Jane Campion turned to cinema at the dawn of the 1980s in Australia. She then signs a series of short films which lay the foundations for her vision of the world. After Fabrics (1980), which she shot in Super 8, and the international success of Peel, exercise of discipline (1983), she continued with Histoire de jeune fille, Mishaps of Seduction and Conquest (1984), Passionless Moments, After Hours (1985), then an episode of the series Dancing Daze (1986). So many stories of women that she tells from a singular point of view: her own. Occasionally, she appears alongside her mother Edith in her sister Anna’s short film, The Audition (1989), the year in which she herself spends long with Sweetie. Certainly, in the Campion family, these ladies have fever in their blood.

“To make a film, for me, calls for an energy deeper than my thought,” Jane Campion told Véronique Le Bris of the Cine-woman site in 2018. It comes out of my body, not my head. ” This is perhaps the best kept secret of this filmmaker who progresses at a rather slow pace, but never runs empty. It is to take a step back and take care of her daughter that she lets six years pass between In the Cut and Bright Star, punctuated it is true by two short films, because this return to brevity “allows you to abandon your own automatisms”: Le journal de l’eau (2006) and The Lady Bug (2007), his contribution to the collective film Each his cinema initiated by Gilles Jacob, who likes to call it “Dame Jane”. She considers her profession to be a priesthood to such an extent that she sometimes goes to write to a refuge lost in the wilderness on the South Island in New Zealand, the setting of Top of the Lake. As for her conception of existence, she delivered it in December 2015 to Violaine Binet from L’Express: “My life unfolds in front of me as the road passes by when I am behind the wheel of my car. Occasionally, I turn to see that it has been a long journey. It’s rare. Usually my eyes stay on the horizon. ” ❖

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Jane Campion, 13th Lumière Award

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