Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale gets a UK release date

The controversial drama-thriller arrives in cinemas before the end of the year

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding The Babadook director Jennifer Kent’s new film, The Nightingale, regarding its strong depictions of sexual violence. Cinema goers will now be able to make up their own minds after Vertigo Releasing have announced an official release date for the UK.

As reported in Screen Daily, Kent’s new film will arrive in cinemas and online on November 29. Since premièring at Venice last year, where it won the Special Jury Prize, it has picked up critical praise and criticism in equal measure, with some professional reviewers and members of the public walking out of screenings unable to stomach the brutal rape scenes.

Understandably, Kent defended her film when speaking to The Guardian earlier this year: “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.”

The Nightingale is set in 1825 and tells the story of a young female Irish convict (Aisling Franciosi) who survives a savage attack by her colonial enslavers and seeks revenge helped by an aboriginal guide called Billy (Baykali Ganambarr). The film surveys how British imperialists took hold of the land and stole it from the indigenous people whose way of life has been decimated ever since.

In our review of the film at Sundance London earlier this year, we wrote: “What Kent is aiming for with The Nightingale is hard to consume, let alone digest, in one viewing. It’s unapologetic in the way she confronts the troubled past of her own country, although the equating of the abuse of white women to the near-massacre of entire race of people has continued to trouble this writer some days after viewing.”

It’s a film that requires more than one viewing to really get to grips with and Vertigo will now ensure UK viewers get the chance in a few months time.

Steven Sheehan

Updated: Sep 11, 2019


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