Jane Campion – ‘TOP OF THE LAKE’ – Sunday Nights – UKTV from March 24 2013
Are people still fascinated by darkness, the dark side – haunted by the things we cannot see or do not understand. Maybe we don’t want to understand them. Maybe blindness is preferred. Is the emptiness easier?
I saw ‘The Piano’ in 1993, for the first time in my then short life – I felt, I realized, I came to know that there was another human being on the planet who thought and felt as I do. Prior to this I felt invisible and alone but was so unaware of these feelings, I was unable to describe them to anyone. Then suddenly and unexpectedly I felt ‘seen’ even ‘understood’. She expressed something I experienced so often I could easily recognize in her work but could not describe – to anyone, not even myself – committed scribe though I was. I assumed ‘they’ would not understand me. Something opened in me and it has not closed.
I dig the themes Jane Campion explores in her work. She makes central feelings, vibes, happenings, crimes, even truths that lurk uncomfortably in the background of life. We feel them, they are familiar to us but mostly we have lost the language that would have spoken of these senses, uncomfortablenesses and intuitions. Something is just not right – ‘Holy Smoke’ examines some of the same themes of male thuggery, of subtle and not so subtle coercion – ever present even institutionalized in to everyday life – that it is not questioned until … someone innocent goes missing or dies and we are all forced to ask – what happened? Who knew? Who looked away? These are the elements under examination in ‘Top of the Lake’ – 6 hour mini-series airing on UK-TV FOXTEL, Sunday nights.
Jane Campion’s work builds up in your mind like water rising cold and damp. It holds the gaze. It creeps and creeps until you realize something clammy has gripped you around your neck and is slowly strangling you. See what you think?
Sexual abuse takes many forms and the unquestioned sanctified status of Motherhood is not beyond reproach in this piece. Yes even Mothers are capable of exploiting and using their children for frightening and abhorrent purposes but so shocking is this idea – it is hard to see when this crime is unspeakably staring us in the face and even harder to cross a taboo and speak it, say it – out loud.
Secret keeping a plenty in Top of the Lake – but perhaps the Secret that harms the most is the one you keep from yourself.
What say you on this twilight topic?