Jane Campion & me…

campion.jpgJane Campion and I are precisely the same age (though you’ll have to go elsewhere to find the rest of the details). And although we have never met, all roads point to us sharing the same mind.

Yesterday in Cannes, Campion debuted a short about a woman dressed up in an insect costume who gets stomped on in a movie theatre. She declared it as a metaphor for women in the film world. It reminded me of Dorothy Arzner dressing Katharine Hepburn up in a bee costume in “Christopher Strong” (1933- Hepburn plays an “aviatrix”), and then having her commit suicide Kami Kazi style because (as a woman) she had ‘flown too high.’ .” Men are shocked by the female perspective ,” said Campion. They see that women have a different way of seeing the world.” A nd I’ll add, it scares the shit out of them.

Campion was one of 35 directors invited to make a short for Cannes’ 60th anniversary this year. She stood the lone woman in a sea of male faces. I just think this is the way the world is, Campion said. Men control the money, and they decide who they’re going to give it to, explaining why it is that so few women can get movies made.

This brilliant New Zealander is the only female filmmaker to have won Cannes’ top prize for The Piano (1993), and she is only one of three women ever to be nominated for a best director Academy Award.

Of the 22 movies in the running for Cannes top prize this year, only three were made by women, cartoonist Marjane Satrapi, Japan’s Naomi Kawase for her road film, Magari No Mori (The Mourning Forest) , and France’s Catherine Breillat’s Une Vieille Maitresse (An Old Mistress).

It seems that parity is a long way off whether it be at Cannes or far across that blinding sea toward Hollywood.