Two Friends

Nashville Scene

DIRECTED BY: Jane Campion

REVIEWED: 09-22-97

It has been 10 years since this first feature by Jane Campion premiered at Cannes; it's finally out on video, in time to join the auteur's Portrait of a Lady on the new-release shelves. Although Campion made the film for Australian TV, her storytelling is about as cinematically innovative as it gets, charting the relationship between two 15-year-old best friends, Louise (Emma Coles) and Kelly (Kris Bidenko), in reverse chronology--beginning with their ultimate break-up and ending nine months earlier on a haunting image of childhood tenderness. The audacious form of Two Friends isn't just an arty experiment; it lends the film an aptly tragic dimension as it investigates the forces that contribute to an adolescent girl's withdrawal from the world. Campion's insight extends to her uncanny sense of camera placement, and to a style of editing that punctuates the many revealing details in the script and in the frame. The unique effect is akin to experiencing a movie twice in one sitting.

--Rob Nelson

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Two Friends

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