Jane Campion continues to make film history at the Golden Globes

CINEMA – Another victory for Jane Campion. This Sunday, January 9, the New Zealand filmmaker (Top of the Lake, BrightStar) spanned new frontiers by winning, at the end of the 79th ceremony, the Golden globes the prize for best director for her latest film, The Power of the Dog.

She was competing here against Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Lost Daughter), Steven Spielberg (West Side Story) and Denis Villeneuve (Dune). The drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, which also won Best Picture, was released on Netflix in December 2021.

Adapted from the eponymous novel by Thomas Savage (1967), its story is that of a ranch in Montana at the beginning of the 20th century, the largest in this American state. We follow the lives of their owners, two brothers, whose course of things will be turned upside down when the new wife of one of the two men and her son, from a previous marriage, arrive.

Furious at this move, the brother-in-law begins to harass the newcomer and her child, creating a suffocating climate and an unbearable atmosphere in this place lost in the middle of desert landscapes.

Changing “this” masculinity

“It’s a portrait of an era, and some women might be slightly frustrated with the character of Rose, but at that time a lot of women didn’t have that much choice,” concedes Jane Campion, who puts on stage for the first time a panel of male roles.

“The film is about toxic masculinity, she told the Guardian. Trying to understand and recognize it is the only way to change this masculinity. You can’t just oppose it, that would add fuel to the fire. You need to understand why these men cause damage to others and to themselves.”

Known in particular for her feminist outlook and her complex female characters, Jane Campion succeeds Chloe Zhao who, last year, won the title of best director at the Golden Globes for her feature film Nomadland. They are, alongside Barbra Streisand with her film Yentl (1983), the only three women to have won the precious statuette.

A Palme d’or which “changed a lot of things”

César for the best foreign film, Oscar for the best screenplay, Grand Jury Prize in Venice… Jane Campion has had distinctions. One of them has also marked the history of cinema. It’s the Palme d’Or. The 67-year-old director received it in 1993 for her adaptation of Jane Mander’s novel, The Piano Lesson.

It was “like receiving a crown”, she blew, in 2019, in the podcast The footprint of the Palme d’Or. She says “not having realized right away [qu’elle] would wear it for so long and it would have an effect throughout [sa] career”. “Being the first distinguished woman changed a lot of things”, notes the one who, in 2021, saw the Frenchwoman Julia Ducournau receive the same prestigious award, thanks to Titanium.

At the head of the Cannes Film Festival jury in 2014, Jane Campion had, from the first press conference, set the tone for her presidency. “Of 1,800 films submitted to the jury, only 7% were made by women,” she denounced, before adding in an interview with the Guardian that “men too often tend to trust each other”. According to her, “there would be a lot more stories in the world if women made more films”.

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Jane Campion continues to make film history at the Golden Globes