Interrogating the director of North Country.

Interviews with a point.
Oct. 20 2005 4:15 PM

Niki Caro

The director of North Country talks about sexual harassment.

(Continued from Page 2)

Slate: In the DVD commentary for Whale Rider, you said that Maori women "lead from behind." Would you say the same for New Zealander women?

Caro: It's not at all the same for New Zealander women. We lead from in front!


Slate: Is "leading from behind" really a position of strength? I mean, looking at what happened in North Country, it seems impossible for a woman like Josey Aimes to have gotten anywhere by "leading from behind."

Caro: It can be a position of strength. The Maori culture is highly specific and stems from 2,000 years of tribal behavior, so I don't think you can make a comparison at all. Those women have it tough, but they're tough themselves.

Slate: You've referred to a "colonial mentality" in New Zealand in which talent fights for recognition amid fierce competition. How have you experienced this in your own career?

Caro: I've experienced this. But it's not any different for women. It's difficult for any creative person in New Zealand. The New Zealand culture and nature is such that we find it very difficult to celebrate creative achievement. In order to get New Zealanders' respect you have to dominate the world like Peter Jackson has done. He is absolutely revered.

Slate: Is that something you would like to achieve?

Caro: It's not a goal that I set up for myself.

Slate: Have you had a mentor? 

Caro: I never had a mentor. God, it would have been nice, but I just didn't. I look up to Jane Campion. And my most favorite director Lynne Ramsay [Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar].

Slate: Recently in the New York Times, the critic Caryn James included North Country in what she called "a genre of timid films with portentous-sounding themes, works that offer prepackaged schoolroom lessons or canned debates." She wrote, "It seems to be a film with a cause [because] it refights a battle that took place long ago." How would you respond to this?


Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Do the Celebrities Whose Nude Photos Were Stolen Have a Case Against Apple?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company


How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 3:19 PM In Defense of Congress Leaving Town Without a New War Vote
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 3:30 PM How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Trick Women
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 5:43 PM Oracle’s Larry Ellison Steps Down, Will Be Replaced by Hurd’n’Catz
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.