Jane Campion Returns to Film with Locally-Shot Western The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog marks a homecoming for Wellington-born Oscar winner Jane Campion – with a career-first twist, David Canfield reports for Vanity Fair.

Campion’s last feature was the 2009 romantic drama Bright Star; she took a long break from the feature world after that release, expressing disillusionment with an industry shift toward “mainstream” entertainment. “Film is complicated now,” Campion tells Canfield. “In a way, it’s not as daring as series-making.” (Her Emmy-winning TV show, Top of the Lake, marked her sole 2010s directing credit.)

The Power of the Dog, which was filmed in the South Island and stars A-listers Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, premiered at the 78th annual Venice Film Festival.

“She’s remarkable,” Cumberbatch says of his director. “She’s got such a vision. She’s so specific in her art – and her art runs deep.”

Let’s pause to clarify an important detail, Canfield writes: Until The Power of the Dog, Campion, 67, had never made a movie with a male lead.

Reviewed in TIME magazine, Stephanie Zacharek writes:

“This is a movie as big as the open sky, but one where human emotions are still distinctly visible, as fine and sharp as a blade of grass.”

Original article by David Canfield, Vanity Fair, August 23, 2021.

Photo by Kirsty Griffin/Netflix.

Tags: Jane Campion  The Power of the Dog  TIME  Venice Film Festival  

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