Tassie movie walk­out

Di­rec­tor de­fends graphic scenes of vi­o­lence and rape

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - JAMES KITTO

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

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