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Jane Campion

Jane Campion
File:Jane Campion.jpg
Campion in Kraków, Poland, April 2010
Born Elizabeth Jane Campion
(1954-04-30) 30 April 1954 (age 61)
Wellington, New Zealand
Occupation screenwriter, producer, director
Spouse(s) Colin David Englert (1992-2001)

Elizabeth Jane Campion[1] (born 30 April 1954) is a New Zealand screenwriter, producer, and director based in Australia. Campion is the second of four women ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and is also the first female filmmaker in history to receive the Palme d'Or, which she received for directing the acclaimed film The Piano (1993), for which she also won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.[2]

Early life

Campion was born in Wellington, New Zealand, the second daughter of Edith (née Beverley Georgette Hannah), an actress, writer, and heiress, and Richard M. Campion, a theatre and opera director.[3][4][5] Her maternal great-grandfather was Robert Hannah, the shoe manufacturer of Antrim House. Her father was from a family of Exclusive Brethren.[6] With her older sister, Anna, born a year and half before her, and brother, Michael, born seven years after, Campion grew up in the world of New Zealand theatre.[4] Her parents founded the New Zealand Players theatre group.[7] While initially rejecting the idea of a career in theatre or acting,[4] she graduated with a bachelor's degree in Anthropology from Victoria University of Wellington in 1975.[4] In 1976 Campion attended Chelsea Art School in London and travelled throughout Europe. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in painting at the Sydney College of the Arts in Australia in 1979. Based on her education at Chelsea Art School and the Sydney College of the Arts Campion cites surrealist painter Frida Kahlo and sculptor Joseph Beuys as influences on her art.[4] Dissatisfied with the limits of painting as a medium,[4] Campion turned to film and created her first short film, Tissues in 1980. In 1981 she began studying at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, where she made several more short films, and graduated in 1984.[8]


Her first short film, Peel (1982) won the Short Film Palme d'Or at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival,[9] and other awards followed for the shorts Passionless Moments (1983), A Girl's Own Story (1984) and After Hours (1984). Having left the Australian Film and Television School she directed an episode for ABC's light entertainment series Dancing Daze (1986), which led to her first TV film, Two Friends (1986) produced by Jan Chapman.

Sweetie (1989) was her feature debut, and won international awards. Further recognition followed with An Angel at My Table (1990), a biographical and psychological portrayal of the New Zealand poet Janet Frame. International recognition followed with another Palme d'Or at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival for The Piano,[10] which won the best director award from the Australian Film Institute and an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1994. At the 66th Academy Awards, she was the second woman ever to be nominated for Best Director.

Campion's work since that time has tended to polarize opinion. The Portrait of a Lady (1996), based on the Henry James novel, featured Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, Barbara Hershey and Martin Donovan. Holy Smoke! (1999) teamed Campion again with Harvey Keitel, this time with Kate Winslet as the female lead. In the Cut (2003), an erotic thriller based on Susanna Moore's bestseller, provided Meg Ryan an opportunity to depart from her more familiar onscreen persona. Her 2009 film Bright Star, a biographical drama about poet John Keats (played by Ben Whishaw) and his lover Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), was shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Campion was an executive producer for the 2006 documentary Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story and has worked on the serial Top of the Lake.[11] The mini-series received near universal acclaim [12][13] with its lead actress Elisabeth Moss winning numerous awards including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film and a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries as well as a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie nomination.[14] Campion herself was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special.[15]

She was the head of the jury for the Cinéfondation and Short Film sections at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[16] and the head of the jury for the main competition section for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[17] During his speech when collecting the Prix du Jury for his film Mommy, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan said of Campion's The Piano that "It made me want to write roles for women: beautiful women with soul, will and strength, not victims or objects". Campion responded by raising from her seat to give him a hug.[18][19]

In 2014 it was announced that Campion was nearing a deal to direct an adaptation of Rachel Kushner's novel The Flamethrowers.[20][21]

Personal life

In 1992, she married Colin David Englert, an Australian who worked as a second unit director on The Piano.[22][23] Their first child, a son named Jasper, was born in 1993 but lived for only 12 days.[24] The couple divorced when their second child, actress Alice Englert, was 7.[25]


From the beginning of her career, Campion's work has received high praise from critics all around. In V.W. Wexman's Jane Campion: Interviews, critic David Thomson describes Campion "as one of the best young directors in the world today."[26] Similarly, in Sue Gillett's "More Than Meets The Eye: The Mediation of Affects in Jane Campion's 'Sweetie'," Campion's work is described as "perhaps the fullest and truest way of being faithful to the reality of experience"; by utilizing the "unsayable" and "unseeable," she manages to catalyze audience speculation.[27] Campion's films tend to gravitate around themes of gender politics, such as seduction and female sexual power. This has led some to label Campion's body of work as feminist, however, Rebecca Flint Marx argues, "while not inaccurate, [the feminist label] fails to fully capture the dilemmas of her characters and the depth of her work."[28]




See also


  • Cheshire, Ellen: Jane Campion. London: Pocket Essentials, 2000.
  • Fox, Alistair: Jane Campion: Authorship and Personal Cinema. Bloomington–Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-253-22301-2.
  • Gillett, Sue: 'Views for Beyond the Mirror: The Films of Jane Campion.' St.Kilda: ATOM, 2004. ISBN 1 876467 14 2 [30] NLA citation
  • Hester, Elizabeth J.: Jane Campion: A Selective Annotated Bibliography of Dissertations and Theses. ISBN 978-1484818381, ISBN 1484818385.
  • Jones, Gail: 'The Piano.' Australian Screen Classics, Currency Press, 2007.
  • Margolis, Harriet (ed): 'Jane Campion's The Piano.' Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  • McHugh, Kathleen: 'Jane Campion.'Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007.
  • Radner, Hilary, Alistair Fox and Irène Bessière (eds): 'Jane Campion: Cinema, Nation, Identity.'Detroit: Wayne State University Press,2009.
  • Verhoeven, Deb: Jane Campion. London: Routledge, 2009.
  • Wexman V. W.: Jane Campion: Interviews. Roundhouse Publishing. 1999.


  1. ^ Fox, Alistair (2011). Jane Campion: Authorship and Personal Cinema. Indiana University Press. p. 32. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  2. ^ CANNES REPORT : 'Piano's' Jane Campion Is First Female Director to Win; 'Concubine's' Chen Kaige Has First Chinese-Film Victory : 'Piano,' 'Concubine' Share the Palme D'Or, Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  3. ^ Fox. Jane Campion. p. 25. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f McHugh, Kathleen (2007). Contemporary Film Directors: Jane Campion. United States of America: Urbana : University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-03204-2. 
  5. ^ Canby, Vincent (30 May 1993). "FILM VIEW; Jane Campion Stirs Romance With Mystery". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Fox. Jane Campion. p. 26. 
  7. ^ Fox. Jane Campion. p. 41. 
  8. ^ Mark Stiles, "Jane Campion", Cinema Papers, December 1985 p434-435, 471
  9. ^ Awards - 1986, Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  10. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Piano". Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  11. ^ Guthrie, Marisa (2011-11-04). "Jane Campion to Write, Direct Sundance Channel Miniseries Starring Elisabeth Moss". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  12. ^
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  16. ^ "A Palme d’or for the Cinéfondation!". Cannes. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  17. ^ "Jane Campion to preside over Cannes Film Festival jury". BBC News. 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  18. ^
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  23. ^ . 26 October 2003  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^ Franke, Lizzie (1999). "Jane Campbell Is Called the Best Female Director in the World. What's Female Got to Do with It?". In Wexman, Virginia Wright. Jane Campion: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers). University Press of Mississippi. p. 207. ISBN 978-1578060832. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  25. ^ Sampson, Des (January 24, 2013). "Alice Englert stars in Twilight successor". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  26. ^ V. W. Wexman. Jane Campion: Interviews. Roundhouse Publishing. 1999. ISBN 1-57806-083-4.
  27. ^ Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  28. ^ 6 May 2012.
  29. ^ "Entertainment: Top of the Lake". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax). 18 March 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  30. ^ (Review of 'The Films of Jane Campion'

External links

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