Jane Cam­pion, film-maker, 1954

The New Zealand Herald - - News - — Dionne Chris­tian — Joanna Hunkin

Twenty-five years ago, Dame Jane Cam­pion made his­tory when she be­came the first woman to win the pres­ti­gious Palme D’Or film award at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val for her film The Piano. To­day, she re­mains the only woman to have won the prize.

The Piano also saw her be­come just the sec­ond woman in his­tory to be nom­i­nated for Best Di­rec­tor at the Os­cars, as well as win­ning her the Os­car for Best Orig­i­nal Screen­play.

In New Zealand, Cam­pion was al­ready well known for bring­ing the har­row­ing tale of au­thor Janet Frame to the small screen in 1990, with the mini-se­ries An An­gel at My Ta­ble. The re­sult was so pow­er­ful it was pack­aged as a feature film and given an in­ter­na­tional the­atri­cal re­lease.

Cam­pion’s film ca­reer be­gan 10 years ear­lier, when she re­leased her first short film, Tis­sues, be­fore at­tend­ing the Aus­tralian Film,

Cam­pion has fo­cused on bring­ing the fe­male gaze to our screens.

Tele­vi­sion and Ra­dio School. While there, she made sev­eral more short films, in­clud­ing Peel, which won the Short Film Palme D’Or at Cannes in 1986.

In 2014, Cam­pion re­turned to Cannes as pres­i­dent of the film fes­ti­val jury, be­com­ing the first New Zealan­der to hold the pres­ti­gious role.

From her first feature, Sweetie, in 1989, through to her most re­cent work di­rect­ing the ac­claimed tele­vi­sion se­ries Top of the Lake, Cam­pion has fo­cused on bring­ing the fe­male gaze to our screens. As she ex­plained in an in­ter­view with Va­ri­ety last year: “We’re a long way from re­ally un­der­stand­ing the fe­male ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing in the world. There’s not enough fe­male sto­ry­tellers out there.

“We’ve been brain­washed a bit by the pa­tri­ar­chal ex­pe­ri­ence of the whole way of be­ing in the world.”

Jane Cam­pion is the only woman to have won the Palme D’Or.

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