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As one of the most decorated female filmmakers and — up until this year, the only female director to have won the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or — Jane Campion discussed the industry’s changing landscape at a Venice Film Festival press conference for her The Power of the Dog.
Speaking to the press Thursday, the New Zealand director — best known for The Piano — said that “the girls are doing very well,” pointing to Chloe Zhao and this year’s Cannes winner Julia Ducournau. “But I still know the statistics are not in favor” of women.
“All I can say is that, since the MeToo movement happened, I feel a change in the weather,” she said. “It’s like the Berlin Wall coming down or the end of Apartheid for us women.”
The Power of Dog, shot entirely in Campion’s native New Zealand, standing in for 1925 Montana, marks the director’s first return to the big screen in over a decade. The drama stars Benedict Cumberbatch as brutal, but deeply complex, ranch owner who offloads his issues and anger on the new wife (Kirsten Dunst) of his brother (Jesse Plemons), together with her bookish son (Kodi Smit-McPhee).
Addressing toxic masculinity, Cumberbatch said that his character was a product of “his nurture, his upbringing and his circumstances,” saying that while it was something he did not condone, he could understand it. “As far as how it speaks to the message of toxic masculinity in the world, if you try to understand it and acknowledge it, that’s the only way to change it. You can’t just oppose it — that’s fuel on the fire,” he said.
“You have to understand why these damaged people are causing damage to others and themselves,” he added, pointing to the recent rise of “strong men of politics” on the world stage. “It has to be addressed and challenged, it’s not just about locking the monster away and throwing away the key, otherwise it keeps recycling.”
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