Jane Campion: Authorship and Personal Cinema

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Overview

Alistair Fox explores the dynamics of the creative process involved in cinematic representation in the films of Jane Campion, one of the most highly regarded of contemporary filmmakers. Utilizing a wealth of new material — including interviews with Campion and her sister and personal writings of her mother — Fox traces the connections between the filmmaker's complex background and the thematic preoccupations of her films, from her earliest short, Peel, to 2009's Bright Star. He establishes how Campion's deep investment in family relationships informs her aesthetic strategies, revealed in everything from the handling of shots and lighting, to the complex system of symbolic images repeated from one film to the next.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"This is easily the best, most comprehensive book now available on Campion and her work.... Highly recommended." —Choice, September 2011

25fps.cz

"In his book, Alistair Fox finds and illuminates the relations between diegetic worlds and the life of a "New Zealand Australian", Jane Campion." —25fps.cz

Barry Keith Grant

"Alistair Fox offers an impressively rich and thoroughly documented reading of Jane Campion's films.... [He] persuasively interprets them as working through the traumas of the artist's life.... Fox succeeds in resuscitating the biological author, giving us Jane Campion without the qualification of quotation marks around her name." —Barry Keith Grant, Brock University

From the Publisher
"This is easily the best, most comprehensive book now available on Campion and her work.... Highly recommended." —Choice, September 2011

"In his book, Alistair Fox finds and illuminates the relations between diegetic worlds and the life of a "New Zealand Australian", Jane Campion." —25fps.cz

"Alistair Fox offers an impressively rich and thoroughly documented reading of Jane Campion's films.... [He] persuasively interprets them as working through the traumas of the artist's life.... Fox succeeds in resuscitating the biological author, giving us Jane Campion without the qualification of quotation marks around her name." —Barry Keith Grant, Brock University

Choice

"This is easily the best, most comprehensive book now available on Campion and her work.... Highly recommended." —Choice, September 2011

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253356185
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 3/30/2011
  • Pages: 269
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Alistair Fox is Professor of English and Director of the Centre for Research on National Identity at the University of Otago.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: Authorship, Creativity, and Personal Cinema 1

1 Origins of a Problematic: The Campion Family 25

2 The "Tragic Underbelly" of the Family: Fantasies of Transgression in the Early Films 48

3 Living in the Shadow of the Family Tree: Sweetie 69

4 "How painful it is to have a family member with a problem like that": Authorship as Creative Adaptation in An Angel at My Table 88

5 Traumas of Separation and the Encounter with the Phallic Other: The Piano 107

6 The Misfortunes of an Heiress: The Portrait of a Lady 133

7 Exacting Revenge on "Cunt Men": Holy Smoke as Sexual Fantasy 154

8 "That which terrifies and attracts simultaneously": Killing Daddy in In the Cut 177

9 Lighting a Lamp: Loss, Art, and Transcendence in The Water Diary and Bright Star 201

Conclusion: Theorizing the Personal Component of Authorship 215

Notes 233

Works Cited 249

Filmography 259

Index 263

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