Jane Campion: #MeToo felt like ‘end of apartheid’ for women

Jane Campion: #MeToo felt like ‘end of apartheid’ for women

Jane Campion has spoken of her optimism about the role of women in the film industry, before the premiere of her latest drama at Venice film festival.

“All I can say is that, since the #MeToo movement happened, I feel a change in the weather,” she said. “It’s like the Berlin Wall coming down or the end of apartheid for us women.”

Campion, who was until earlier this year the only female film-maker to have won the Palme d’Or in Cannes – for The Piano in 1993 – said she had been cheered by the Oscar wins in February for Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland, as well as Julia Ducournau’s victory for Titane at Cannes in July.

“The girls are doing very well,” said Campion, 67. “But I still know the statistics are not in favour” of women.

The Power of the Dog is Campion’s first big-screen venture since 2009’s Bright Star. Based on the western novel by Thomas Savage set in 1925 Montana, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a brutal ranch owner who takes out his rage on the new wife (Kirsten Dunst) and son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) of his brother (Jesse Plemons).

Cumberbatch said the anger issues of his character were explicable based on his background and circumstance. “As far as how it speaks to the message of toxic masculinity in the world,” he continued, “if you try to understand it and acknowledge it, that’s the only way to change it. You can’t just oppose it – that’s fuel on the fire.”

“You have to understand why these damaged people are causing damage to others and themselves. Whether that’s world leaders on the stage – strong men in politics who have risen again in recent times – or whether that’s something in your own life or culture.

“It has to be addressed and challenged but it also has to be understood. It’s not just about locking away the monster and throwing away the key. Otherwise it keeps recycling.”

The Power of the Dog began its shoot in Campion’s native New Zealand in January 2020; after a hiatus, filming continued in June 2020.

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