The Nightingale director defends graphic rape scenes and denies film is ‘about violence’ after mass walk out by fans

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THE Nightingale director Jennifer Kent has defended graphic scenes of rape and violence in the film after a mass walk out at early screenings.

The movie, written and directed by Kent, is set in 1825 Tasmania during the frontier war massacres of Indigenous Australians.

The Fall actress Aisling Franciosi takes the lead and her character is hellbent on revenge against her abusive master

The Babadook director admitted the scenes were hard to watch – and hard to make – during another screening on Monday when more people were seen leaving the cinema.

But Kent said she’d been contacted by victims or sexual violence who had thanked her for the honest betrayal and said in a statement: “I do not believe this would be happening if the film was at all gratuitous or exploitative.

“Whilst The Nightingale contains historically accurate depictions of colonial violence and racism towards our Indigenous people, the film is not ‘about’ violence …

“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.”

IFC Films

It is set during the colonisation of Australia in 1825[/caption]

IFC Films

It has been called a ‘A brutal, shocking, stomach punching, beautiful masterpiece’[/caption]

Kent insisted the colonial violence against Indigenous Australians in Tasmania in the film had actually been toned down for audiences.

She added: “If we showed what really happened in Tasmania in 1825, no audience could bear it.”

The screening audience at the Sydney Film Festival last Sunday stormed out within the first 20 minutes, claiming the historical drama was “needlessly punishing”.

Those who chose to keep watching said they were forced to cover their eyes after violent sexual assaults, abuse of children and terrifying torture.

IFC Films

Cinemagoers were forced to cover their eyes after violent sexual assaults, abuse of children and terrifying torture[/caption]

IFC Films

Fans have been left trembling in terror at the twisted tale of revenge[/caption]

The film follows the story of 21-year-old Irish convict Clare – played by The Fall Aisling Franciosi – who sets out for revenge when her husband and baby are killed after she is gang raped.

She is hellbent on vengeance against her abusive master, Lieutenant Hawkins – played by Sam Claflin.

It was shown to a sold-out audience of more than 1,000 people at the Ritz cinema but it attracted mixed reviews.

IFC Films

IFC Films

Director Jennifer Kent says rape victims thanked her for the honest depiction of rape[/caption]


One said: “F***ing hell, #TheNightingale @sundancefest was incredible. A brutal, shocking, stomach punching, beautiful masterpiece from Jennifer Kent (The Babadook).”

New York Post critic Johnny Oleksinski said: “Vacuum-packing a non-stop supply of rapes, deaths and beatings into more than two hours is needlessly punishing and comes at the expense of character and story.

“Constantly having to shield your eyes from horrible imagery – as the Sundance audience was – would seem to defy the whole point of watching a movie.”

  • The Nightingale is due for a UK release on August 8, 2019.

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