Women too sensitive to succeed as film directors, says Campion

Only female winner of Palme d'Or says her gender has to learn to take criticism

She is the only woman to have won the prized Palme d'Or in the 62-year history of the Cannes Film Festival and is among a tiny handful of the world's best directors to have been recognised twice there.

Jane Campion yesterday sounded a rallying call for other women to "put on their coats of armour" and take on the male-dominated world of movie-directing.

Campion has declared herself a feminist in previous interviews and has bemoaned the lack of female directors. She is now suggesting it is time for women to toughen themselves up.

Women tend to find criticism hard to bear, said Campion, whose latest film, Bright Star, is in the running for the Palme D'Or at Cannes.

"I think women grow up without a lot of harsh criticism, they are treated more sensitively and it's quite hard when you first enter the world of film-making," she said yesterday. "But women must put on their coats of armour and get going.

"I would love to see more women directors because they represent half of the population and gave birth to the whole world. Without them, the rest are not getting to know the whole story."

The director, who once said "tragedy makes you grow up", admitted film studios still had a "distrust" of women's abilities. Describing the studio system as sexist, she said one of the reasons for there being a relatively large army of female film-makers in her native New Zealand was that the country did not have a thriving studio tradition.

"I think the studio system is kind of an old boys' system," she said. "It's difficult for them to trust women to be capable. I have been very, very lucky because some of our cinema is state-sponsored so they have to be fair to both men and women," she said.

Campion, 55, is one of three female film-makers in this year's competition, whose jury president is Isabelle Huppert, only the fourth woman in the history of the festival to take this role.

Yet Campion has been the first to speak up about the difference between the sexes at the festival. Only days ago Huppert said "cinema is universal" and with a shrug of the shoulders, added that she was just "happy" to be one of only four female judges since the festival was founded.

While she has seen success at Cannes, no female director has ever won an Oscar and only three have ever been nominated, including Campion with The Piano.

Campion first came to Cannes in 1986, when her Peel won the Palme d'Or for short films. Then, in 1993, Campion jointly won the Golden Palm for The Piano.

Bright Star is her first feature film in six years and it dramatises the intense love affair between the Romantic poet John Keats and his fiery neighbour in north London, Fanny Brawne.

The British actor Ben Whishaw is cast as the poet, who died at the age of 25. Campion told the story through Fanny's eyes, she said, because was drawn to her character after reading Andrew Motion's biography of Keats.

"The history of their relationship caught me unawares. It was so exciting," Campion said.

Celluloid ceiling: Awards for directors

*Academy Award for Best Director

Total awards: 84

Women: 0 Men: 84

*Golden Globe for Best Director

Total awards: 66

Women: 1 (1983, Barbra Streisand – Yentl) Men: 65

*Palme d'Or

Total awards: 68

Women: 1 (1993, Jane Campion – The Piano) Men: 67

*Bafta for Best Direction

Total awards: 41

Women: 0 Men: 41

*Silver Bear Best Director (Berlin)

Total awards: 51

Women: 1 (1979, Astrid Henning-Jensen – Vinterborn) Men: 50

Cannes Diary

New 'Heights'

Cathy, the tempestuous central character of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, has been captured on film by cinema royalty including Merle Oberon (opposite Laurence Olivier), Juliette Binoche and Yvonne Mitchell. Cathy is now to be reprised by the one-time Bond girl, Gemma Arterton. The Kent-born actress will star opposite Ed Westwick, from the US television series Gossip Girl, as Heathcliff.

Let there be rock

Ang Lee, whose film Taking Woodstock, which stars the British actress Imelda Staunton, stumbled across the story (based on the book about the true-life story of Elliot Tiber; see review, right) by accident while he was booked to appear on a San Francisco talk show to discuss his film Lust, Caution in 2007. It was there that he came across Mr Tiber, who was on the show to discuss the book. The two men got chatting on the set and Lee's curiosity was piqued. Lee recalls: "A few days later, an old friend from film school called. He told me he had heard that Elliot had given me the book and encouraged me to read it."

Poetry please

Ben Whishaw, the Bedford-born actor and star of Jane Campion's Bright Star, who plays the John Keats, admitted he held a prejudice against Romantic poets before embarking on the film. "I didn't really know much about him (Keats) at all," Whishaw confessed . "I liked modern stuff but I have grown to love the luxury and sensuality of Keats' writing."

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

booksReview: Lena Dunham, Not That Kind of Girl
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments