Jane Campion: Portrait of a filmmaker without concessionsTTT magazine

Headliner of the Lumière 2021 Festival, the New Zealand director was in Lyon to collect her prize, an additional mark of international recognition for her work. She also previewed her latest film, Power of the Dog, slated for release on Netflix in early December. This is the opportunity to take a look at this filmmaker with a singular vision, still too little known to the general public.

Artist above all

Jane Campion is the first woman in the history of the Cannes Film Festival to receive the Palme d’Or for the Piano lesson in 1993. It is also with great emotion that Julia Ducournau presented him with the trophy during the award ceremony, she who also had the Cannes consecration this year with Titanium. However, Jane Campion does not want to be shown only through the prism of her femininity, which would be deplorably reductive for the author of eight brilliant and independent feature films. In her films, she unfiltered the reality of female desire, much more complex than the fantasized vision to which most male directors have accustomed us. She likes to stage strange characters, on the fringes of society, but driven by the same desire for freedom and emancipation. It is this process of confrontation with a surrounding world with which they have difficulty adapting, this attempt to exist in spite of everything, that Jane Campion likes to grasp, considering that “the journey is much more interesting than the arrival. . We note the importance of Nature, often a mirror of human feelings and celebrated for her imperturbable beauty, to the point of becoming a character in her own right. So even in his thriller In the Cut, the director films the streets of New York like a real jungle. Finally, Jane Campion is the mini-series Top of the Lake, to a success as critical as it is public.

Jane Campion and Julia Ducournau © ABACA photo

From his inspirations to his determination

Very discreet about her private life, she does not however deny that some of her achievements have been influenced by her personal experience. But according to her, the stories can never be completely autobiographical since one lives through others. She also says she is very inspired by literature, citing in particular Emilie Brontë and Virginia Woolf. Books are like a “road map” for her to find the path to adaptation. Images impose themselves on his mind, from this imagination a first draft of the film will be born, which will then be irreparably modified against reality. The surprise caused by incidents, chance or the technical necessities of life appear to be a revelation. When asked for her opinion on the reviews, she admits to avoiding reading them but procrastinates all the same “It is better to quickly accept to be always criticized anyway. The first film is the ultimate test. It takes crazy daring, fighting body and soul to make it exist, and yet it risks being destroyed by people who have no idea what is behind it and what it represents. for you. If you feel discouraged from your first movie, then cinema is not for you. “

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© Olivier Chassignole

Against and against the health crisis

Asked about the future of cinema after the Covid crisis and the consequences it had on the entire industry, she was optimistic. Jane Campion is confident in the future of the seventh art and thinks that the small and the big screen will be able to learn to live together without one taking the place of the other. Above all, she is grateful to Netflix for funding Power of The Dog, regretting nonetheless that there has not been a real theatrical release with the French public, and particularly Lyonnais who love the cinema so much: “One would think they were paid to come! »She wonders, laughing in front of the crowd present at each screening, she considers that the main thing remains that the films continue to exist whatever the way.

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Jane Campion: Portrait of a filmmaker without concessionsTTT magazine