A doctor walks up to Janet Frame in the institution she's remanded to. She expects he is there to perform the lobotomy that very smart people have decided is the only hope she has. Instead he informs her that she's won the New Zealand national book prize.
There will be no lobotomy, but she will spend years more institutionalized.
Jane Campion's adaptation of Frame's later autobiographies tells the tale of a woman who was disregarded until she seemed useful, all in the name, I'm sure, of loving her. "Life in hell," Frame wrote, "but there are prizes." But the thing is, life doesn't have to be hell. Humans make it hell for other humans.
We talk about one woman's fight against patriarchal normality on this week's Lost in Criterion with An Angel at My Table , listen via iTunes or LostInCriterion.com, and while you're at it, like us on Facebook or support us on Patreon.