‘Power of the Dog’ Director Jane Campion on the Progress of Women Directors
Jane Campion is an Oscar-winning director who was also the first and only woman to have won the prestigious Palme d’Or until last year. However, despite her stellar achievements, Campion took over a decade-long hiatus from directing feature movies.
After her 2009 movie, Bright Star was released, Campion took a break from directing feature films. In fact, after Bright Star, the only directing work she did was in the TV series Top of the lake, where she directed 8 episodes.
However, Campion is back from her long hiatus with the much-anticipated feature titled The Power Of The Dog. Based on Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel of the same name, the movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch alongside Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
During a Venice press conference for the movie, Campion spoke about how women directors can gain more space in the movie industry.
I think girls are doing very well. I think once you give them a chance, there’s not going to be much stopping them. I know the statistics still aren’t in women’s favour. It is a great loss for everyone that there aren’t feminine voices describing our world and who we are.
Campion further explained that women directors had more presence on TV. She also described the #MeToo movement as a game-changer for women directors in the industry, comparing the movement to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Apartheid.
‘The Power Of The Dog’
The Power Of The Dog centers on Phil (Cumberbatch), a cowboy who runs a successful ranch and the events that follow after his brother marries a widow whose son moves in with them.
Campion had read the book years ago and had always wanted to adapt it into a movie. However, it was only when she visited Montana in 2018 and met up with Alan Weltzien, the author of Thomas Savage: a Forgotten Novelist, that she began working on the movie.
As preparation for directing The Power Of The Dog, Campion got experience regarding horse riding and researched ranching. And just as engrossed in the book's world was Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch.
Cumberbatch calls Campion a “kindred spirit,” and like her, he too had gone to Montana before the shooting to learn everything from roping to braiding to horse work. The actor said to Vanity Fair he was in character for the entire duration of the shoot and added he had wanted to do something like this for a long time.
To be in character for an entire shoot is new to me; this level of work, and the long run of this project, is also new to me. But it’s very much what I’ve been hoping for for a long while now. It felt so important to be able to work from the outside in...
The Power Of The Dog will have a limited theatrical release in November and begin streaming on Netflix from December 1.