Journey through Jane Campion’s filmography

Jane Campion by Jane Campion

by Michel Cement

Notebooks of the Cinema, 242 p., 45 €

Oscar for best director for his film The Power of the Dog, New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion is – is only – the third woman to be honored with this prestigious award. One year after Chloé Zhao for nomadlandand twelve years after Kathryn Bigelow, for Minesweepers. In 1994, she had already received the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Piano Lesson.

Jane Campion often finds herself alone at the top of the podium. The only woman to win the Palme d’Or in 1993, for The Piano Lesson (already awarded the Palme d’or for short films in 1986), it remained so for almost thirty years, until the crowning of Julia Ducournau, in 2021, for Titanium.

The critic Michel Ciment, great helmsman of the magazine Positivepillar of Mask and Feather on France Inter and for a long time producer of Private screening on France Culture, has been following the work of Jane Campion for a long time. He had dedicated an essay to it – Jane Campion by Jane Campion – which emerges in a beautifully illustrated edition, a mixture of presentations and long interviews from its beginnings, film by film, on the creative process, inspirations, working methods, staging and music options, the choice comedians. “Jane Campion, he writes, belongs to that line of artists for whom the unusualness of an image never harms the clarity of the story. »

A dazzling landscaper

Fiercely independent, the filmmaker never stops renewing herself, challenging herself, and believing in the power of the image, insists and analyzes Michel Ciment. The dialogue is exciting, rich, precise, sustained and the editing work remarkable with set photographs, annotated scripts, storyboards and personal documents.

This album stands out as the reference book to follow and understand the career of this unusual filmmaker, feminist, surrounded by women in each position of her team, portraitist of women, who refuses, like Michel Ciment, that her cinema be reduced Has “women’s movies”. She asserted herself as a dazzling landscape painter, steeped in romance and passion, an explorer of the ambivalence of beings and the vulnerability of men.

→ READ ALSO. “The Power of the Dog”, a sumptuous western by Jane Campion

This book, distinguished by the Syndicat français de la critique de cinéma on its release, comes out in an expanded version enriched by the analysis of the twelve hours of the series. Top of the Lake (2013 and 2017) and by The Power of the Dogtwilight western, already awarded the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Recipient of the Prix Lumière, in Lyon, last fall, Jane Campion, 68, hinted that her tenth film, which earned her this international recognition, might be her last… If that were to be the case, it will remain his work and this Michel Ciment album to grasp its immense extent.

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Journey through Jane Campion’s filmography