‘Brutally violent’ Aussie film led to walkouts
Sydney Film Festival director Nasheen Moodley has stood by screening controversial flick The Nightingale but admits the movie "is confronting and does contain scenes of brutal violence".
Some cinemagoers walked out of Sunday night's festival screening of the Jennifer Kent-directed film at the Randwick Ritz on Sunday night.
"Certainly the film is confronting and does contain scenes of brutal violence, and it is not unexpected that some audience members will choose to not remain in the screening," Moodley told Confidential, adding: "The Nightingale is a powerful and uncompromising film and some scenes are difficult to watch."
Director Kent sat in the screening of The Nightingale, which is set in 1825 Tasmania and tells the story of a young Irish convict, Clare (Aisling Franciosi).
Within the first half-hour of the film, Clare is raped multiple times by different people. Some leaving the screening were heard saying: "She's already been raped, we don't need to see it again".
Moodley said that 20 to 30 people left each of the two festival screenings. Some suggested there should have been special warnings for the film.
"Our policy does not include warnings ahead of screenings," he said.
"The festival's film note describing The Nightingale states that the film, which is restricted to audiences 18+, is "frequently brutal and shocking" - this is listed both in the printed program guide and on the website."
The Nightingale secured the Special Jury Prize when it screened at the Venice Film Festival in September.
In response to the Sydney Film Festival outrage, Kent said: "while The Nightingale contains historically accurate depictions of colonial violence and racism towards our indigenous people, the film is not 'about' violence. It's about the need for love, compassion and kindness in dark times."