I adore Jane Campion!

Jane Campion, the maker of films like The Piano, Holy Smoke, Sweetie, Portrait of a Lady, is the Jury Chairperson of the MAMI festival.

It makes me ECSTATIC because she is one of my top fav’ filmmakers! My post graduation entrance exam asked for an essay on a filmmaker’s work and I wrote about her film ‘The Piano’πŸ™‚

In 2006, at the International Film festival of India in Goa- she was screening Holy Smoke. Meeting her there is one moment I will always cherish. Dressed in a simple skirt with two pigtails and the warmest smile that reached out to you just like her films. I was in complete awe of her and just managed to mumble something like “I love your films!” As we spoke more, she asked me a question I will never forget.

At that stage I was beginning to make my first feature – and when I shared this with her she asked me “Have you prepared yourself?” Surprised that she was curious, I promptly rattled off that half the money was in place, the script was int he 8th draft, the casting was happening etc. Gently, she interrupted me and said – “no… I mean have you prepared yourself?” Β I stared at her not understanding what she meant.

She smiled, shook her head and put her hand on my shoulder. As we walked to her screening, she explained how I would be investing myself in this film more than anything else… and that I needed to prepare myself for that… to keep my energies strong and positive and creative in order to last the journey and make it a good one. She admitted that many, including herself, made the mistake of obsessing about the external things – and ignoring the internal things/themselves in the whole filmmaking process; when actually one is the most important instrument and so one should nurture and preserve one’s physical, emotional and mental being. She urged me to think about it and find the space and peace to think, to ideate and to create.

When she said “I find it takes atleast four hours of mindspace- of doing nothing- for a fresh idea to emerge”, I was intrigued and confused. But those were words of experience from someone who had lived through it. As I went through the experience I realised the value in her words. It is among the best advice I have ever received.

In those few moments, she taught me something I recall everyday. So for her films and for the wisdom she shared – I adore Jane Campion!

P.S.: Btw, MAMI has an all-woman Jury this time!

13 thoughts on “I adore Jane Campion!

  1. Anjali, I think this is definitely one of the best posts of yours as well as as lesson for all of us.
    I have seen Bangalore Days atleast 20 times. It’s a gem of a movie. There are so many subtle elements.. observations about people.. about life.. that only someone with a keen eye could bring in.
    I recently watched 100 days of love and it had its moments of brilliance but overall it was not consistent. That’s when I remembered this post. What makes an ENTIRE movie terrific? I think part of the answer is what Jane said. When every single person on sets on every single day of the shoot has high energy to contribute the best…Till the movie is released, every day you need to give your best in every department. That’s when the overall product comes with great texture and class. Bangalore days was one such movie. Would you please share with us how you kept your energies high throughout the period and how you got the best out of your entire crew? It’s no easy feat. Also, another compliment for you – I personally believe that all your actors shone in your movie in a way that never happened with other directors. Kudos Anjali! So proud of your work and inspired by your dedication.

    • Thank you for your kind words Subha. Someday if I were to write about it, I’ll surely let u know! However the screenplay of BD will be published soon and my foreword shall carry notes on how this script evolved.πŸ™‚

  2. Dear Anjali, I am from Bombay and have worked closely with gender issues as part of the Laadli campaign to stop female foeticide. I am totally with you on the subject of filmmakers (who happen to be women!)πŸ˜€

    I am now the organiser of the 48 Hour Film Project, an international filmmaking competition that takes place in 100 cities worldwide and am bringing it to Bombay in Nov. 2010. Another area of gender dispartiy is that mostly all-male teams and hardly any women/girls are there as team leaders or participants. I really wish girls could take part in such exciting events, which would give them great exposure and experience. We’re still calling for teams to register with us, and will close registrations in end-Oct. So I am hoping by then more all-women teams would have signed up with us! Any ideas how I can reach out to them? Cheers to you… (PS: After reading so much about Kerala Cafe, eally wish I could see it. Any suggestions?)

  3. I have seen The Piano and and Portrait of a Lady and while the former was a bit dragging to me, I loved Nicole Kidman’s performance in the Portrait of a Lady. Maybe someday there would be someone like Jane Champion for our very own malayalam cinema.
    Going by the quality of the movies released today, film makers like you would sure be appreciated by the industry. Being an avid filmgoer of all the film languages released in Kerala, I have seen the transition of the quality from medium in the early 2000 to the lack lustre ones like now. Give us our own Jane Champions and Kathryn Bigelow s and may as well have better made movies. You would be a serious name in the list.

  4. Hello Anjali,

    It is humble of you to share your experience with a stalwart and give credit to her for your thought process. Staying simple, down-to-earth and REALISTIC brings around the basic needs for any individual to excel and succeed.

    I am confident you too will continue to leave strong imprints through your work, for others to seek guidance from.

  5. thank you Anjali for sharin this unique experience..cant explain the feelin while readin this article..now i can realise what actually happened to me durin my debut FF shoot..the project was shelved due to many a reasons and all these months after the shoot i was trying to sort out the things which went wrong for me..and now m into a new project and i feels it like a blessing to go thru ur blog..m shocked to ask myself ” m i ready ? “..oh :-O ..
    i too adore Jane Campion..now I have a reason for tht more than her films..and hey, try to see her “An Angel at my table”..a beautiful movie πŸ™‚

    • Hi Manu,
      Thank you for your frankness… Not even the closest person to you would realize how traumatic it is when things go awry on that first project. Trust me, in many many ways I can relate to that.
      Wonderful to hear that your doing a new one! Hope this one brings forth the best in you.
      I found a gem of a book by David Lynch called “Catching the Big Fish” which is about all of this. Take care and lotsa positive energy to you!πŸ™‚

  6. Jane Campion is simply superb !..it must have been so exciting to be so close to herπŸ™‚. I would’ve just stood there, tongue-tied..so in awe of her work !

    Its so humbling an experience to see such stalwarts not let success go to their heads, and remain so warm and humane to us mere mortals ..πŸ˜€

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