Director: Jane Campion
Screenwriters: Jane Campion, Gerard Lee

Institute History

  • 1990 Sundance Film Festival


For those who've followed the career of the young Australian filmmaker Jane Champion (the shorts: Passionless Moments, A Girl's Own Story and 2 Friends), her bold, mesmerizing feature film debut, Sweetie, will come as no surprise. Don't be misled by the title. Sweetie is only darkly, ironically "sweet." The title refers to the central character, a gross, certainly deranged young woman who wreaks emotional and physical havoc on the household of her sister Kay. Although the physical drama of the film is very much motivated by Sweetie, Kay is its emotional center: plain, odd, sexually estranged from her young husband, and somehow herself deeply troubled.

The metaphor and metonymy of putting down roots figure strongly in Sweetie as a sign of permanence, hope and the future. All the characters resist it: Sweetie, most obviously, as a rolling stone-thundering boulder-who will gather no moss; Kay who, enigmatically, senses a deep absence in her own life; and even their parents, moving off in different directions. Like a good novel, Sweetie is laced through with intense emotional subtleties and resonance. Much of its meaning may strike one as mysterious, but it is hardly incomplete. The significance is there to ponder, even days after viewing.

Sunday, January 21,10:00 p.m.
Prospector Square Theatre

Wednesday, January 24, 10:00 a.m.
Prospector Square Theatre

Friday, January 26, 1:15 p.m.
Holiday Village Cinema II


— Tony Safford

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]