Friday, October 23, 2009

The "Bright Star" of Jane Campion

I'm noticing this is a feminist blog. Right on. I just saw the film Bright Star and it has affected me deeply. The script is so well written I would be surprised if it were not nominated for an academy award. The dialogue & intelligence of the writing is understated, brilliant and sublime. The cinematography and scene pacing remind me of Terry Malick, who must be Jane Campion's filmmaking soul mate. At times the film reminded me of the exquisite and underrated "The New World." The soulful use of natural light, the grit & mud of the period, the absolute faith in the beauty of the script to carry the film without the tawdry props that characterize so many American films: there are no tight clothes, ravaged sex scenes or anything even hinting of the sexual. But this is a movie so brimming with sensual passion and the longing of pure love that it rocked my cynical world of therapized views on "relationships."

Sometimes great acting is the result of the actors themselves and sometimes it is the result of great directing. It is obvious that Woody Allen is controlling his actors, but Ms. Campion, as great an auteur that exists today, gives her actors free reign while still allowing her restrained directing to hold immense power. This is a film that cracks open the heart of one whose ever been madly, passionately and purely in love to the point where nothing else mattered. But there is nothing sick or twisted or wrong about this love. It is just love. In this modern society that therapizes human love & sexual relations to the point where if one has feelings like the ones displayed in this film one would be labelled "love addicted" or "co-dependent." How did this happen to us as a society that two young people can be madly in love and we mistrust it as some sort of malady that needs treatment. Maybe I am projecting too much here, because many of the people I know who were loose & cynical about love & sex in their 20's don't feel that this kind of pure and innocent love could ever happen for them. But the great thing about this flick is that it reminds you of the time when your heart was pure and open and you felt this way about someone or something. It may not have even been a person, but the awakening in the heart of passion for anything is a beautiful thing. I saw this film two days ago and have been thinking about it non-stop. And it is not just because it is a wonderful film - probably the greatest on she's even made, the cinematography and mood on par with what the Swedes usually do - but because of the bravery of Jane Campion: in the tough, hip, cynical, show-off world of groovy films made by men, Ms. Campion had made a work of art so visually exquisite, so well written, so willing to touch upon the most vulnerable parts of the heart that I question whether the new Coen brothers film I just saw was truly as good as I'd thought. In risking showing such young vulnerable raw emotion in such a well made film, Jane is not just a great female filmmaker, she is simply a great filmmaker - in league with Terrence Malick, Hal Hartley and Ross McElwee - other auteurs working straight from the heart.

No comments: