Tassie movie walkout
Director defends graphic scenes of violence and rape
FILM director Jennifer Kent has defended her film The Nightingale after it’s Sydney screening that saw cinemagoers storm out of the theatre protesting the film’s on-screen violence.
The Nightingale, filmed in Tasmania, was screened as part of the Sydney Film Festival to a sold-out audience of more than 1000 people on Monday night.
Some audience members were so distressed by the onscreen violence and rape that they yelled out in protest and walked out.
The first section of the film shows drawn-out scenes of a woman being raped by several men.
One audience member tweeted after the film: “The Nightingale made me do something I thought I would never do, I walked out.
“There was a point where I just needed to take myself away from that brutal space. But I recognised that this was an important film so I walked back in and watched the rest of the movie.”
Another viewer wrote: “Yes, it’s confronting, but the violence is there for a reason.”
Kent said the film was about “the need for love, compassion and kindness in dark times”.
“Whilst The Nightingale contains historically accurate depictions of colonial violence and racism towards our indigenous people, the film is not ‘about’ violence,” she said.
“I have been personally contacted by more than a few victims of sexual violence after screenings who are grateful for the film’s honesty and who have drawn comfort from its themes. I do not believe this would be happening if the film was at all gratuitous or exploitative.
“We’ve made this film in collaboration with Tasmanian Aboriginal elders, and they feel it’s an honest and necessary depiction of their history and a story that needs to be told.
“I remain enormously proud of the film.”
The Nightingale premieres in Tasmania in August.
I have been contacted by more than a few victims of sexual violence ... who are grateful for the film’s honesty — JENNIFER KENT