Small Screen Gives Jane Campion New Space to Shine

In a review of Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake: China Girl, which is currently screening on BBC2 in the UK, the Guardian’s Sam Wollaston says that not only is lead Elisabeth Moss “mesmerising, again”, but that the New Zealand director’s second installment is, “as a mystery and a cop show … totalling compelling.”

“I worried about the move from New Zealand to Sydney for Campion’s follow-up Top of the Lake: China Girl,” Woolaston admits. “The vast, lonely beauty of the South Island scenery played such a major part in the first series. But Campion wrings a different kind of beauty, still cinematic though, from a seedy Sydney cityscape.

“Detective Robin Griffin (Moss), has returned to Sydney to throw herself into work and to forget about everything that went down by the Kiwi lake. And also, maybe, because she has a teenage daughter here, a child she gave up at birth but whose letter – which came a few years ago, seeking contact – she carries around with her.

“There is a lot of reflection on what it means to be a mother, and specifically the mother-daughter relationship, in ToTL 2.0. Real-life motherhood, too: who plays Robin’s daughter, Mary, when they do (of course) make contact? Campion’s real-life daughter, Alice Englert.

“Nicole Kidman, the big-name movie star, as Holly Hunter was in the first series, is fabulous and so very real as Mary’s adoptive mother.

“[China Girl is] less bonkers than the first series, tighter, better planned.

“It is good news that Campion has discovered the small screen. It is not small; she makes it look big – it gives her space. Top of the Lake would never have fitted into a movie.”

Original article by Sam Woolaston, The Guardian, July 28, 2017.

Photo by See-Saw Films (TOTL2) Holdings Pty Ltd/Sally Bongers.


Tags: Alice Englert  Elisabeth Moss  Guardian (The)  Jane Campion  Nicole Kidman  Top Of The Lake: China Girl  

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