Jane Campion Is Depressingly Practical About Female Directors


New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion, only the second of four women nominated for an Academy Award in directing (for Holly Hunter-starring The Piano), directs epic, offbeat, female-driven films about mortality and sexuality. Her 1987 directorial debut, Sweetie, was recently released by the Criterion Collection. Please see that shit. It’s wrenching and amazing.

Campion, a constant supporter of female directors, was at Sundance this year to promote her six-hour miniseries Top Of The Lake and pontificated on the state of female directors in the commercial and independent film industry. After she gave de rigeur props to Kathryn Bigelow (“[she’s] great at telling war stories. I think she’s just smashed the cliche. It’s very liberating”), the interviewer asked her for her thoughts on the number of female competitors at Cannes last year (0.00)

Cannes Film Festival is actually very supportive towards women filmmakers, though. They have been very supportive. There just weren’t great movies from the ladies, and it’s not their fault, it’s the financing of the women. I don’t think it’s at that level to attack. I think it’s at the funding level. We need more women being funded.

The reporter informs Campion that the head of Cannes stated that they didn’t “look hard enough” for female-directed films and adds that they haven’t had any for the last three years, to which Campion responded, “Yes, but how many women are producing movies? There are just 20 movies in competition and in total there are only 4% of women directing features. […] I’m sensible about it. If there were more women making film, then yes, there’d definitely be no problem. Women are very clever.”

“I used to sit with my mother and I liked to annoy her. She was like “Don’t be silly.” I’d be like “Okay, give me the newspaper.” And we’d do a very random search and we turn the page and count how many pictures of men and women there are in the newspaper. She would be like “this is completely ridiculous. See, there’s a woman.” We’d count them up and you’d be amazed at the difference, almost 80% guys.
But do I care? No, I’m too old to care. I don’t care anymore. Let them have it. I’m going to think about other things.”

‘Five Minutes with Jane Campion’ [Indiewire]

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