Harvey Weinstein's downfall a 'fairytale' for women - Dame Jane Campion

New Zealand's top female filmmaker has spoken about the rising tide of anger over sexual violence and harassment suffered by women.

Dame Jane Campion called it a "fairytale time" with women standing together and men listening.

Dame Jane also said she worked with disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, but did not know the extent of his behaviour. She fell out with the movie mogul while directing the film Holy Smoke in 1999.

In an address to more than 140 delegates at a SPADA industry conference in Wellington, she spoke of an industry that's exploitative of women.

But she also talked of the preciousness of the moment, with women uniting to speak up against sexual harassment and violence.

"Women are being believed and the men fired. This is breathtaking. I have never seen anything like this solidarity and call to action in my life," she told the audience.

"The more we speak out, the less it will happen."

Dame Jane, who wrote and directed mini series Top of the Lake and more than a dozen films including The Piano, spoke of a change of direction in the late 1980s towards capitalism "marked by flagrant greed".

She said there was a connection between capitalism and macho male culture.

As films became more aggressive and male-dominated, women either bowed out or played diminished roles.

"They didn't make money like the men, they were irrelevant," she said.

"Women were cast as hot girlfriends, sluts, loving wives and occasionally MILFs."

Fast forward to 2017 and the election of US President Donald Trump.

"Surely the pinnacle of the capitalist macho movement but also, I believe, the downfall," Dame Jane said.

"President Trump's gross display of macho domination and power is also a lightning rod of revulsion.

"Never has the macho man been so exposed, so idiotic or so dangerous."

As for the President's wife Melania Trump, Dame Jane said she plays a submissive female role. "Just like a Barbie, look hot, shut up," she said.

But Dame Jane said women were becoming a creative market force, citing the female-led series Big Little Lies and The Handmaid's Tale.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: