The 59th New York Film Festival (NYFF) has named Jane Campion’s latest, “The Power of the Dog,” as its Centerpiece selection. A press release has announced the Western is set to make its New York premiere at the fest at Alice Tully Hall on October 1. NYFF 2021 will take place September 24 – October 10 with a combination of in-person, outdoor, and virtual screenings.
Written and directed by Campion, “The Power of the Dog” sees tensions between two brothers coming to a head when one of them marries. “Adapted from a 1967 cult novel by Thomas Savage that was notoriously ahead of its time in depicting repressed sexuality, ‘The Power of the Dog’ excavates the emotional torment experienced at a Montana cattle ranch in the 1920s,” the source summarizes. “Here, melancholy young widow Rose (Kirsten Dunst) has come to live with her sensitive new husband, George (Jesse Plemons), though their lives are increasingly complicated by the erratic, potentially violent behavior of his sullen and bullying brother, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose mistrust of both Rose and her misfit son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) leads to tragic consequences.”
“I am very honored that ‘The Power of the Dog’ has been selected as the Centerpiece Gala at this year’s New York Film Festival,” Campion said. “Public screenings we long took for granted feel exceptional now, so it is going to be a very emotional and joyous experience for me and my team to be there and present the film to such a film-celebrating audience.”
Campion is no stranger to NYFF. Four of her previous films have screened at the fest: “Sweetie” (1989), “An Angel at My Table” (1990), “The Piano” (1993), and “Holy Smoke” (1999).
“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Jane Campion back to the festival with one of her very best films,” said Dennis Lim, NYFF Director of Programming. “Everything about ‘The Power of the Dog’ is alive with surprise: its narrative turns, its rich characterizations, its complex ideas about masculinity and repression. It will introduce many to the work of the underappreciated novelist Thomas Savage, but it also reminds us of what cinema can do as a medium for accessing and expressing inner life.”
“The Power of the Dog’s” world premiere will take place at Venice Film Festival in September. A Netflix title, the drama is expected to be available on the streamer later this year.
Campion’s other credits include “The Portrait of a Lady,” “Bright Star,” and “Top of the Lake.” In 1993, she became the first woman director to win Cannes’ Palme d’Or for “The Piano” — Julia Ducournau became the second with her “Titane” victory last week. “The Piano” also earned Campion an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay as well as a nod for Best Director. The filmmaker is one of just seven women to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar: Lina Wertmüller, Campion, Sofia Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow, Greta Gerwig, Chloé Zhao, and Emerald Fennell. Only Bigelow and Zhao have taken home the prize.