ReFocus: The Films of Jane Campion

Edited by Alexia L. Bowler, Adele Jones

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Explores the detail of Jane Campion’s film and television output, considering her vision and practice, legacy, and her contribution to feminist filmmaking

  • Includes multiple approaches consolidated within a feminist framework
  • Engages with Campion’s oeuvre to-date
  • Considers Campion’s engagement with feminism and feminist filmmaking

Jane Campion’s work shines a spotlight on gender relations, often through complex female characters and an innovative approach to the screen representation of women functioning at the edges of society. Campion is vocal about the under-representation of women in the film industry more generally, though her commitment to the notion of feminism is tempered by an ambivalence towards the term. Despite this ambiguity, Campion’s continued focus on women merits an exploration of her work through a feminist lens particularly in the wake of #MeToo, which has had a wide-ranging impact on the film industry.

List of Figures
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Unruly Filmmaker, Fellow Traveller - Alexia L. Bowler and Adele Jones

1. Claiming Campion: The Question of Jane Campion’s Politics Revisited - Stephen Kuster

2. Two Friends: Circumstances of a Historic Feminist Collaboration - Zachary Zahos

3. Unsettling Presences: Agentic Embodiment in Jane Campion’s Films - Catherine Fowler

4. ‘The Mood That Passes Through You’: Reverberations of Music and Meaning in The Piano - Leanne Weston

5. ‘Only another man’: Homosociality in Jane Campion’s Bright Star and The Power of the Dog - Alexia L. Bowler

6. ‘I don’t think so, Jan, that’s just another fantasy’: Practice, Paratext and the Power of Women’s Talk in Jane Campion’s Filmmaking - Rona Murray

7. Articulating Feminism(s): Voicelessness, (In)Visibility, and Agency in Top of the Lake - Adele Jones

8. Jane Campion’s Palimpsestuous Gothic: Kinship in Top of the Lake: China Girl - Johanna Schmertz

9. Photosensitive Primetime: Race and Recovery in Top of the Lake: China Girl - Blythe Worthy

Afterword: Unsettling Feminism - Annabel Cooper


This impressive and timely book is a welcome addition to the scholarship on Jane Campion, a filmmaker whose work, despite her significance, remains under-researched. The essays revisit her early, often neglected, films as well as offering new insights into canonical texts such as The Piano, and exploring more recent films, including The Power of the Dog.

Estella Tincknell, University of the West of England
Alexia L. Bowler is a Senior Lecturer at Swansea University. She co-edited, with Jess Cox, a special issue of Journal of Neo-Victorian Studies on adaptation. Her most recent article on Jane Campion and In the Cut was published in Feminist Theory (2018).

Adele Jones is a Tutor at Swansea University. She has published on Sarah Waters, Michèle Roberts, and neo-Victorianism, and co-edited Sarah Waters and Contemporary Feminisms (2016, with Claire O'Callaghan).

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