Naked Jane

Director: Linda Kandel
Screenwriters: Linda Kandel

Institute History

  • 1995 Sundance Film Festival


Director Linda Kandel has made no attempt to capture the angst of an entire generation. Instead Naked Jane is a stunning portrayal of one woman’s personal journey. Jane is in her twenties, that rare time when childhood is behind you, but change for the future is still possible.

After returning to America after four years of college in Europe, Jane floats through her life in Los Angeles, working on her novel and surviving by typing other people’s papers. She is also caught between two loves. At a Halloween party, she meets Matthew, a brash young artist who hangs out in the hip art scene and has made a name painting portraits of socialites. She is seduced by his raw confidence and sexual prowess. Their budding, but turbulent, relationship is set askew by the impending arrival of her first love, Sam, who went to Europe to find himself but seems lost in the superficial glamor of the fashion world.

Jane is a nineties’ version of Holly Golightly. She relies on her openness and innocence to decipher the world around her. Beautifully portrayed by Renee Stahl, Jane looks like she was plucked from a French romance and set adrift in Los Angeles. She wins your heart when you feel her discomfort at parties filled with posers and uncomfortable pickup attempts. There are certain moments in Stahl’s performance where you actually catch the sadness behind her eyes that lets you know Jane’s life is in flux. Stahl leads an excellent ensemble of actors.

Kandel has an innate understanding of the eccentricities of location, and Los Angeles plays its part with finesse. Moonlit beaches, lush hues, and romantic sweeping architecture with modern accents link the past to the present. A wonderfully quirky sound track and a score performed by W.A.C.O. add to this film’s startling originality. Naked Jane is a charming, revealing look at a young woman’s search for herself.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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