Monday, February 21, 2011

Auteurship: Jane Campion films

I must admit that when I saw the term “auteurship” I was a bit confused as to what it meant. My searches kept leading me to the definition of an author, which as it turns out is perfectly correct. The Auteur theory in relation to being an author is the way in which all of their work is categorized. For instant with some directors, their films are easily recognizable… even without knowing the director initially.

At random I chose to watch a Jane Campion film, most likely because the name was female! I feel like I really lucked out with my sporadic choice because I loved her film, Bright Star. I’m easily won by period pieces and she has refined the art. This particular film focused on the love affair between the famed poet, John Keats and his muse, Fannie Brawne. It was beautifully tragic with the underlining story and they way Campion filmed it. I was aware that one of the two main characters would be stricken with an illness or somehow parish but even with that knowledge Campion still crushed my hope that, somehow everything would be okay. I’m very American in my thinking that every ending should be a positive one but the director, who’s Australian, ended the film with a tragic death. It’s very hard for me to define a movie as being good when the ending does not carry the best outcome. Campion, however, tied in delicate notes of love throughout her film and everything from the shots to the acting was poetic. In that sense the film was perfect because it matched the topic of 19th century romantic poetry which Keats’ is known for. The title of the film itself is named after his famed poem which illustrates a devote love to Ms. Brawne.

I have also begun the film An Angel at My Table by the same director. It, like the first film I watched is also extremely emotionally charged. The film, also about a famed poet, Janet Frame, shows the natural pitfalls that life may have. Frame, however, seemed to have more than average with her awkward tendencies which turned into antisocial behavior. This behavior, although not normal was not psychotic. Frame ends up being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and suffers years of physical and mental torture for being different. So far in the film it’s become apparent the Campion focuses on unbalanced characters. Keats suffered as an artist and with love. He could not overcome either during his life… in order to be a proper husband to Ms. Brawne he needed wealth and stability; by nurturing his love for Brawne he did not focus on his writing entirely. Both him and Brawne were isolated characters until they met one another. Brawne, herself only gave fashion her attention and therefore her relationships other than her immediate family did not exist. As for Janet she is a loner in every since. She is not too close with her family and her peers have no respect for her. It’s through her tragedy that her talents become apparent. This is the theme that Campion has perfected.

For my third film I have ordered The Piano, which I’ve heard about prior to knowing the director.

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