Jane Campion’s TV Series “Top Of The Lake” Monumentally Tedious.

Jane Campion's Top Of The Lake.

Jane Campion’s Top Of The Lake.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Jane Campion’s Top Of The Lake, currently on BBC2,  was the latest dazzlingly original and unashamedly intelligent series to grace our TV screens. It’s not.

There’s plenty of plot. In so far as there are numerous incidents. There are characters, some fine acting, and it’s all beautifully shot. New Zealand has rarely been rendered as atavistic or as alien. But there’s absolutely no drama whatsoever. Things happen. Sometimes they’re explained, often they’re not. Because Campion clearly has no interest in what you or I would call a “story”.

Or to put to another way, by rejecting the traditions of a hopelessly outmoded patriarchal construct, Aristotle’s absurd insistence that every story should have a beginning, middle and end, she can free the female form from its reductive reification and reach instead for transcendental revelation.

What you get in other words are a bunch of male and females stereotypes who just happen to occasionally meet.

If she wants to explore gender politics – and she clearly does – she should do a phd.

Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw in Jane Campion's "Bright Star".

Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw in Jane Campion’s “Bright Star”.

The reason it’s been getting all these inexplicably positive reviews is that female critics are so hungry to champion anything that’s made by and for women, they’re rendered completely purblind on the rare occasions that they get to see any.

Whilst their male counterparts are so keen to sport their liberal credentials they feel compelled to play along. Mike Hale, who reviewed it for The New York Times here, was an honourable exception.

Campion should stick to male protagonists, as she did in the wonderful Bright Star. Because whenever she deals with women, she has an uncontrollable urge to lecture. Poorly.

You can see the trailer for Bright Star here.

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