Holy Smoke

Director: Jane Campion
Year Released: 1999
Rating: 1.5

Had the individuals that wrote the screenplay not been the Campion sisters, Jane and Anna, and had the proposed film idea not been directed by Jane, who also made "The Piano" and "An Angel on My Table," no studio head would have put the stamp on it. After sitting through this agonizing garbage - is it a comedy? is it drama? is it camp? is Harvey Keitel the devil? is Winslet Jesus? is it meaningful? is it a joke? - I came to the conclusion that it doesn't matter what it is: it's worthless. The tale: rambling, experimental Kate Winslet goes to India for the fuck of it, falls under the spell of "Baba," some mystic, and refuses to return home, prompting her cuckoo mother to go after her. Eventually, her parents become panicky for their daughter's (mental? spiritual?) safety, and hire Professional Exiter and Stopper of Loonies Harvey Keitel (yes, in Campion's World, people do have professions like this) to take her to a hut in the middle of a desert with the intent of vanquishing her radical spiritual beliefs, of curing her, but what actually occurs is a sexual breakdown on the Keitel's part, and the film veers into a study of gender/sexual warfare (Keitel becomes the woman, or slave ... literally) - a thematic shift that comes out of nowhere. Some of the scenery is splendid in a Kiarostami-kind-of-way, and the two leads do their best with puzzling, uninvolving scenes.