The Nightingale

The Nightingale

classified 18

Please note: This was screened in Nov 2019

Jennifer Kent
Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Baykali Ganambarr
136 mins, 2019, Australia | USA | Canada
Primary language
Scottish Gaelic | Aboriginal | English

Jennifer Kent's follow-up to her smash hit The Babadook is an uncompromising revenge tragedy, winner of the Special Jury Prize at Venice, about a vengeful Irish convict and an Aboriginal tracker who stalk a group of British soldiers through the Tasmanian wilderness.

Set at the turn of the 19th century, it follows Clare (Aisling Franciosi), an Irishwoman in Tasmania, where she is an indentured convict held by British lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin). Overdue her release, his abuse of power eventually culminates in a horrifically violent attack. Hiring an Aboriginal tracker, Billy (Baykali Ganambarr), whose family were murdered by British colonists – and who, despite Australia being his native land, retains even less power within it than Clare – they stalk Hawkins, with Clare desperate to wreak her revenge.

A harrowing look at the horrific reality of early British rule in Australia (the film contains graphic scenes of rape, violence and racial brutality), Kent uses narrative and superb cinematic craft to explore the terrible savagery with which British colonisers took Australian land from its native Aboriginal people and violently exploited prisoners.