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Campion on Bright Star

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 21, 2009 at 9:13AM

I sat down with New Zealand director Jane Campion at Cannes to talk about Bright Star a full sixteen years after I first met with her, for The Piano, for which she was the only woman to ever win the Palme d'Or in the 62 year history of the fest. Tragically, she lost the child she was carrying that year. Her daughter Ella was born three years later; spending time with her is the main reason Campion has made only four features since The Piano, and took four years off after In the Cut.
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I sat down with New Zealand director Jane Campion at Cannes to talk about Bright Star a full sixteen years after I first met with her, for The Piano, for which she was the only woman to ever win the Palme d'Or in the 62 year history of the fest. Tragically, she lost the child she was carrying that year. Her daughter Ella was born three years later; spending time with her is the main reason Campion has made only four features since The Piano, and took four years off after In the Cut.

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Here's my interview with Campion:


The gorgeously mounted 19th-century drama, told through the eyes of 18-year-old Fanny Brawne, is the true tale of Brawne’s romance with her 23-year-old North London neighbor, the poet John Keats. But their unconsummated two-year relationship was doomed by poverty and tuberculosis. "It was shockingly passionate and painful," says Campion, who relied on Keats's "extraordinary" love letters to Brawne. "It's first love. They don't have any restraint, because they're just discovering themselves and their love at the same time." The Keats Fanny met, says Campion, was "fun-loving, wicked, humorous and challenging."

Here's a bit from the Cannes press conference:


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This article is related to: Production , Festivals, Genres, Directors, Cannes, Period, Costume Design


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.