Jane Campion

Alistair Fox

in Cinema and Media Studies

ISBN: 9780199791286
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:
Jane Campion

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Since Jane Campion (b. 1954) was first recognized as a filmmaker of exceptional talent, with the screening of her early short film Peel—An Exercise in Discipline (1982) at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986, she has become acknowledged as one of the most important woman directors of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Especially following the success of The Piano (1993), which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and subsequently three Oscars awarded by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Campion’s films have been the object of a rapidly expanding body of scholarly appraisals. These studies are clustered around a number of key preoccupations: Campion’s status as an auteur; her representation of a distinctive feminine sensibility in films by a woman, about women, and for women; her relations to feminism; her treatment of sexuality; and the issue of her national and international affiliations. In pursuing these topics, scholars have adopted a variety of approaches, ranging from feminist and psychoanalytic interpretations to industry studies and appraisals grounded in postcolonial theory. Predictably, given her singularity and “quirkiness,” Campion has polarized opinion, with some scholars seeing her as one of the greatest of all filmmakers, while others dismiss her as having sold out to commercial concerns in her later films. Irrespective of the controversies regarding her work, Campion is indisputably a filmmaker of singular genius on account of her harnessing of the arts of cinematic representation to reveal unique and deep insights into female subjectivity. While to New Zealanders and Australians her films open windows to an understanding of the dynamics and effects of their cultural formation, her films appeal equally to international audiences because of their universality.

Article.  8408 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies ; Film ; Radio ; Television

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