#52FilmsByWomen: BRIGHT STAR

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44/52 BRIGHT STAR

For me, being a director is about watching, not about telling people what to do. Or maybe it’s like being a mirror; if they didn’t have me to look at, they wouldn’t be able to put the make-up on. ~Jane Campion

No year of women-directed films would be complete without a Jane Campion entry. Campion–who wrote and directed this tale of romantic love between Fanny Brawne and the poet John Keats–is one of my very favorite directors in the world and someone I would kill to work with. I think I’ve seen this film four or five times and it still moves me with its beauty and heart.

Campion’s cinematic eye consistently astonishes me. Her shots are works of art–stunning, observant and elegant. Actors in her films always turn in nuanced and emotionally profound performances–probably because she has the patience to let those performances unfold naturally. She is a surprising filmmaker–one who never goes for the obvious or trite and who embraces the off-beat.

There’s a dangerous quality even in this romantic film. Campion’s characters are not of the Austen world…rather, they careen through the constraints of their society in a way that makes them seem so much more human, alive and relevant than most period films.

Next up for Campion is Season 2 of Top of the Lake. I can’t wait.

 

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