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Jane Campion is one of the most dynamic — and applauded — filmmakers to emerge from Australasia. Her oeuvre includes Cannes-winning ginger roadtrip Peel, Janet Frame adaptation An Angel at My Table, and mini-series Top of the Lake. Her Palme d'Or and Oscar-winning settler saga, The Piano, is listed in the US National Society of Film Critics' list of '100 Essential Films' of all time. Read the full biography

[Jane Campion] has never made an uninteresting or unchallenging film … The Piano is as peculiar and haunting as any film I've seen. American critic Roger Ebert

Screenography

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The Piano

1993, Writer, Director - Film

Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter) has been mute since she was six. She travels from Scotland with her daughter (Anna Paquin) and her grand piano to colonial New Zealand for an arranged marriage. When her husband, a stoic settler (Sam Neill) sells the piano to Baines (Harvey Keitel), Ada and Baines come to a secret agreement. She can win her piano back key by key by playing for him, as he acts out his desire for her. Jane Campion's Oscar-winning tale of sexual emancipation in the mud and bush is the only NZ film to have won the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

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Queen Street

1980, 2nd Ass. Director - Television

Three friends cruise inner-city Auckland in a 1946 Ford pickup, as they cope with the changing dynamic of their friendship and encroaching demands of the adult world. In the tradition of American Graffiti it captures the hope promised by a night on the town and a reality that struggles to meet expectations — punctuated by hoons, officious cops and dodgy tow truck operators. Queen Street is a fascinating look at Kiwi car and street culture in the pre-boyracer era, and a snapshot of a downtown that has changed markedly since 1981 when the film screened on TV.

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An Angel at My Table

1990, Director - Film

Directed by Jane Campion, An Angel at My Table is adapted from author Janet Frame's renowned three-part autobiography. It threads together a series of images and scenes to evoke Frame's dramatic life story. Originally made as a TV drama, the much-acclaimed and richly-visual film established Campion as an international director, launched the career of actress Kerry Fox, and introduced new audiences to the "mirror city" of Frame's writing. This excerpt follows Frame's life-saving escape from Seacliff Asylum, to first publishing success at Frank Sargeson’s bach.

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Peel

1982, Editor, Writer, Director - Short Film

A father attempts to discipline his son for throwing orange peel out the window on a summertime car-trip. Jane Campion: "This was my first film. I knew these people who all had red hair and they were part of a family. They were also alike in character, extreme and stubborn. Their drive in the country begins an intrigue of awesome belligerence." This tale of domestic tension might have been subtitled "gingernuts". Peel won the Palme d'Or for Best Short Film (1986) making Campion the first woman (and only New Zealander) to achieve Cannes' highest honour.

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For Good

2003, Mentor - Film

New Zealand's so-called 'cinema of unease' is stretched in new directions in this psychological drama, inspired by real-life interviews with criminals and victim's families. Writer/director Stuart McKenzie's feature debut follows Lisa (Michelle Langstone), a young woman haunted by the rape and murder of a former teenage acquaintance. Lisa's fascination leads her to the victim's parents - and to prison, to interview the charismatic killer (Tim Balme). The result is an intelligent examination of the after effects of violent crime. Shayne Carter provides the soundtrack.

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The Edge - Season One, Episode 25 (Jane Campion interview)

1993, Subject - Television

This Jane Campion interview from the first series of arts show The Edge was filmed as The Piano was released in NZ cinemas in 1993. Earlier that year she had become the first (and only) female director to win the Cannes Palme d’Or. Here, Campion discusses the antipodean character of her next project (A Portrait of a Lady) and providing Nicole Kidman with a role that isn’t “like a handbag to one of the male stars”. She also muses on working in Hollywood versus her hometown Sydney, and the influence of her New Zealand upbringing on forming her imagination.

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The Audition

1989, As: Herself - Short Film

Anna Campion directs her mother Edith and younger sister Jane in this slyly observed short: a re-imagining of Edith’s (reluctant) audition for a small role in Jane’s An Angel at My Table. From when Edith picks Jane up at the airport en route to her Otaki home, the professional and personal roles blur. Anxiety, huffs and matriarchal needling ensue as an often comic, sometimes poignant domestic tango between the former stage actress and film director Jane plays out in front of the camera. Anna was studying at London’s Royal College of Art when the film was made.

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Passionless Moments

1983, Director, Writer, Producer, Camera - Short Film

“There are one million passionless moments in your neighbourhood; each has a fragile presence which fades as it forms.” So says a voice in this early Jane Campion collaboration with writer Gerard Lee (Sweetie, Top of the Lake). Made — without permission — while both were students at Australian Film, Television and Radio School, the short eulogises 10 such moments to wry effect, from ‘Sleepy Jeans’ (misheard lyrics), to ‘Sex ... Thing’ (idle yoga thoughts). The celebration of the micro-absurdity of suburban life showed in the Un Certain Regard slot at Cannes 1986.

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The Water Diary

2006, Director

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A Girl's Own Story

1984, Director, Writer

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Bright Star

2009, Writer, Director

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In the Cut

2003, Writer, Director

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Portrait of a Lady

1996, Director

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Holy Smoke

1999, Writer, Director

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Top of the Lake

2012, Co-Director, Co-Writer, Co-Creator, Executive Producer

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Sweetie

1989, Writer, Director

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Two Friends

1986, Director