Australian/New Zealand actor Alice Englert steps into the director’s chair for the abundantly absurd black comedy Bad Behaviour that satirizes everything from New Age wellness cults to the entertainment industry, motherhood, youth and power, and, naturally, bad behaviour. Bad Behaviour is the work of a young director who has yet to find her feet. It works best when it leans into satire but falls apart in sincerity. There are moments of effective near surrealism that prove that Englert has a handle on the absurd, but she’s yet to manage how to balance tonality and unearth authenticity inside her premise.Read more
Gender parity at major festivals is slowly improving and the 2023 Sydney Film Festival is no exception to this welcome and necessary development. In 2023 SFF decided to feature New Zealand/Australian director Jane Campion’s work as a centrepiece. JANE CAMPION – HER WAY showcases Campion’s work from early shorts to her award-winning The Power of the Dog. The strand also includes the documentary Jane Campion, The Cinema Woman by Julie Bertuccelli and Campion in conversation with critic David Stratton. Another important programming strand is EUROPE! VOICES OF WOMEN IN FILM, which introduces Australian audiences to debut features by women from a variety of countries including Italy, Iceland, Finland, Greece, Denmark, The Netherlands, Mexico, and Switzerland.Read more
British Casting Director Nina Gold, a veteran of more than three decades in the industry, began her impressive career casting extras in rock music videos and before long found herself working alongside her countryman, auteur Mike Leigh. From there she’s gone on to collaborate with award-winning filmmakers like Jane Campion (Bright Star and The Power of the Dog), Steven Spielberg (The BFG), and Sam Mendes (1917 and Empire of Light). Her full filmography reads like a “best of”, with the casts of audience and critical favourites like Bad Sisters, Game of Thrones and Chernobyl down to her. Her most recent project, Firebrand, just premiered in competition at Cannes 2023.Read more
The European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) reports that women represented fewer than one out of four film directors in Europe (23%) between 2016 and 2020. Females made up slightly more producers (33%) and screenwriters (27%), but struggled to have a significant presence in technical positions like cinematographers (10%) and composers (9%). Women directed fewer films than men and were less likely to be sole directors of feature films than their male counterparts. Female producers were involved in 44% of European feature films (alone or in teams), but on average women tended to produce slightly fewer films than men. Women also made up less than half (39%) of lead roles. The Paris-based “Femmes de cinema” Lab initiative’s 2021 study shows that “on average and even today, women are less paid, less subsidized, less programmed than men, and female characters are still too often poor or stereotypical.”Read more
The Power of the Dog sweeps the 2021 AWFJ EDA Awards with Wins in 11 out of 25 Categories. Multiple EDA Awards also go to Belfast and Encanto, and curator Maya Cade claims the Outstanding Achievement Award for founding the Black Cinema Archives. Dame Judi Dench and Ms. Rita Moreno are our Grande Dames, and guess who captured the She Deserves A New Agent Award.Read more
The 79th Golden Globes were a tarnished shadow of their past glory, but the embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Association managed to pick some dazzling winners at the celebrity-free, non-televised Jan. 9 ceremony.
With her stunning Western epic “=The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion became just the third woman in the Globe’s almost eight-decade history to garner the best director title, following Chloe Zhao’s 2021 win for Nomadland and Barbra Streisand’s 1983 victory for Yentl.
It has been 12 years since film titan Jane Campion released a feature film. Now, with The Power of the Dog, the New Zealand director shows she has lost not a step. Her adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 Western novel offers the vivid landscapes and hothouse emotions reminiscent of the film that put her on the world map, The Piano (1993). A piano even serves as an important plot point.Read more
While she won’t speculate on her own awards prospects, Ari Wegner recently told me how happy she is to see the way women are now being more welcomed in the field of cinematography. She hopes this will continue to increase as female DPs start to see the recognition that has eluded them for so long. She discusses both the art and science of filmmaking with such a degree of passion and poetry, that her love for the medium is contagious. She is a leader, a champion, and a gifted artist, giving the world not only beautiful images, but a sense of hope and fascination too.Read more
You’ll keep waiting for the axe to fall…and it doesn’t…and it doesn’t…and the tension builds to the bursting point. Perfectly benign moments take on sinister hues in The Power of the Dog, you know something is deadly wrong, tensions hang over your head, and when the axe finally falls it’s a hell of a payoff.Read more
Jane Campion takes a tactile approach to exploring her characters. But in this milieu, not given to gentleness and intimacy, a glimpse of hands working with strips of woven cowhide can take on a transgressive charge.Read more