Jane Campion May Direct an Adaptation of The Flamethrowers. This is Great News.

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
May 12 2014 12:41 PM

Jane Campion May Direct an Adaptation of The Flamethrowers. This is Great News.

9781439142004_custom7e81f0840812e7c2097afb8f1ed7955662489442s6c30

According to a feature published Sunday in the Guardian, New Zealand-born director and Oscar-winning screenwriter Jane Campion is “on the verge of closing a deal” to direct the film version of The Flamethrowers, the second novel from American author Rachel Kushner.

Published last year, the book follows motorcycle-riding visual artist Reno as she negotiates the 1970s New York City art scene, with chapters that flash back to early Futurists in Italy. A finalist for the National Book Award, The Flamethrowers enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive response from reviewers, even igniting a bit of a lit-crit kerfuffle about the way men and women, respectively, reacted to the book.

Advertisement

Campion is the perfect director for the project. She has a long history of telling women’s stories, from Sweetie and The Piano to the 2013 Sundance miniseries Top of the Lake, which Campion co-wrote with Gerard Lee and co-directed with Garth Davis. Top of the Lake centers on a female detective investigating the case of a pregnant 12-year-old girl who has gone missing in their small New Zealand town. In many ways, the show is about a woman doing a job typically assigned to men and confronting the sexism of a male-dominated culture. Like HBO’s True Detective, the show dealt with sexual violence, but, as New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum pointed out, where True Detective used victims of such violence as “symbols of the universe’s unspeakable horror,” Campion’s series was truly about the survivors of sexual abuse.

All of which is to say that Campion’s nuanced approach to women’s stories wonderfully suits The Flamethrowers, which is largely told from Reno’s perspective. “Filmmaking is not about whether you're a man or a woman; it's about sensitivity and hard work and really loving what you do,” Campion told the Guardian. “But women are going to tell different stories—there would be many more stories in the world if women were making more films.” Both Kushner and Campion have already proven they’re more than capable of telling complex and intelligent and entertaining stories about women. Fingers crossed that they get to tell this story together.

Lara Zarum is a graduate student in the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at NYU. She writes a regular TV column for the Toronto magazine the Grid.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 21 2014 9:18 AM Oh, Boy Prudie counsels a letter writer whose sister dresses her 4-year-old son in pink tutus.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 10:10 AM Where Do I Start With Sleater-Kinney?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 9:39 AM The International-Student Revolving Door Foreign students shouldn’t have to prove they’ll go home after graduating to get a visa.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.