Jane Campion’s pick of the Criterion Collection

Posted by · 11:04 am · October 1st, 2009

The Night PorterI’m glad to see that, whatever the eventual awards fate of “Bright Star,” Jane Campion is by and large back in the critics’ good books. As one of those who feels she’s never really made a bad film — simply some more completely realized than others — it’s a case of reputation rehab being both overdue and unnecessary, if that makes any sense.

The Criterion Collection, however, always had her back, adding her to their list in 2005 with her 1991 literary biopic “An Angel at My Table,” with her debut “Sweetie” joining it later. (You might be surprised to learn that her signature film “The Piano” still isn’t in the collection.)

Anyway, at the time, Criterion asked Campion to name nine films from their collection that she holds in highest esteem, and the results make for predictably interesting reading. It doesn’t take a psychic to figure out that the erotic transgressions of “The Night Porter” float her boat, but the inclusion of say, Milos Forman’s wonderful “The Firemen’s Ball,” is less self-evident and no less pleasing.

Meanwhile, she has a healthy regard for consensus classics, with Kurosawa, Fellini, Bergman and Ozu all making appearances. What I liked most, however, was her brief tribute to Buñuel in her selection of “That Obscure Object of Desire” (the the title from his oeuvre I’d have picked for her):

Buñuel is my first deep love in cinema. He is the adult that pulled the plug on the human art of pretending. He blazes through the hypocrisy at the heart of our bourgeois lives mercilessly—no one is sacred, no ideal or moral is spared. He is perfectly modern, bold, and clear. I found myself laughing in joy and amazement. He understands human nature while refusing to sentimentalize it.

More here.

→ 15 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

15 responses so far

  • 1 10-01-2009 at 11:50 am

    Sean O'Connell said...

    “As one of those who feels she’s never really made a bad film …”

    In The Cut is a bad film. Campion made that one.

  • 2 10-01-2009 at 11:51 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I respectfully disagree. Problematic in some areas script-wise, but by no means bad.

  • 3 10-01-2009 at 11:52 am

    Sean said...

    Apparently! Each to their own, and all of that.

  • 4 10-01-2009 at 12:04 pm

    david said...

    I didn’t think A Portrait of a Lady was a very good film. Like most, I loved The Piano.

    I share her passion for Luis Bunuel. There are just certain days, when one of his surreal masterpieces, are about the only thing that will satisfy my movie watching needs.

    I sure wish Criterion would do a boxset of Frantisek Vlacil films. His early work is easily as good as anything Bergman ever did.

  • 5 10-01-2009 at 12:38 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    I liked “Bright Star” when I saw it a month ago, it just gave me a temporary high of vivid images, beautiful music, set decoration, photography, etc, etc.

    But the film opened two weeks ago here in DFW and I just can’t muster the energy to go see it again. It hasn’t stuck with me or anything — it’s a little too slight.

  • 6 10-01-2009 at 1:16 pm

    Nick Davis said...

    Dear Jane Campion,

    Please be my mother, or at least my guardian, or at least my landlady.

    Nick Davis

    P.S. I agree with Guy about In the Cut, and I think The Portrait of a Lady is even better than that film or Bright Star. Amy Taubin had that movie pegged perfectly back in the day, but it’s been a hard recuperating process, especially with the DVD out of print.

  • 7 10-01-2009 at 1:24 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Indeed. “Portrait of a Lady” is genius. Aside from Campion’s considerable achievement in the film, I’m consistently amazed by how the film gets sidelined in Kidman’s filmography — it was a pretty vital stepping-stone for her.

  • 8 10-01-2009 at 1:30 pm

    Jane Campion said...

    How about my lover…since you love to kiss my ass so much…maybe we could include Guy and have a threesome…

  • 9 10-01-2009 at 1:41 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    @david AKA Jane Campion: Nice. I wasn’t aware that having favorite filmmakers was something to be discouraged. (Not that Campion is mine by a long shot.)

  • 10 10-01-2009 at 2:01 pm

    Jane Campion (alias david) said...

    It’s just over inflating the worth of all there work that should be discouraged.

    But what do you say Guy…you and me…we don’t really need Nick…he’s a nice guy and all, but…

  • 11 10-01-2009 at 2:59 pm

    Nicolas Mancuso said...

    Now, I am an enormous Kate Winslet fan, but I strongly dislike “Holy Smoke”. I’ve watched it many times, hoping that my feelings would warm up over time, but they haven’t. I think the film starts off terrifically, then totally collapses around Day 2 of Ruth Barron’s de-programming. The script just does some bizarro things that I can’t get behind.

    I do love Ruth’s crazy family, though.

  • 12 10-01-2009 at 3:11 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    One of Kate Winslet’s best performances, though … or am I alone there?

  • 13 10-01-2009 at 5:21 pm

    Nicolas Mancuso said...

    She was great. It doesn’t, however, stick out in my memory as one of her best. I don’t know. I was thinking recently that it was nearly time to watch it again, so I’ll let you know.

    One of her very best performances as far as I’m concerned is in “Enigma”… a seemingly very obscure film that almost no one I’ve talked to has even heard of. Unfairly, I think. It’s a fantastic film, one of my favourite WWII films!

  • 14 10-01-2009 at 8:09 pm

    It's a Man's World... (but it ain't nothing without a Woman) said...

    I loved Sweetie and her short films. She should have won the Oscar for THE PIANO too. I also think that Kimberly Peirce should have won for BOYS DON’T CRY, not to mention Julie Taymor for FRIDA. What’s up Hollywood? Give some love to the ladies already!

  • 15 10-02-2009 at 2:25 pm

    Tigerbos said...

    I’d be Jane’s lover anyday quite frankly but alas I’m not her type I think. I’m not really sure I believe that Jane feels she’s not made a bad film as she took some time off after In The Cut to decide whether or not she wanted to continue film making. I’ve liked all her films except for In The Cut but I have to admit, it was ballsy.