Director's Note: THE NIGHTINGALE features graphic acts of sexual violence towards women, violence towards children, and violence motivated by racism. This film presents complex issues and does not attempt to offer neat solutions to systemic issues of race, misogyny, sexual violence, or classism. While the film's narrative is fictional, it is inspired by historical events. The film presents the opportunity to open up an honest dialogue about cycles of violence, the repercussions of colonialism, and the value of experiencing challenging, troubling works of art. While art can make viewers uncomfortable, it can also inspire reflection on the importance of empathy for our survival.
THE NIGHTINGALE is a meditation on the horrors of Australian colonization, set at the turn of the 19th century. The film follows Clare (Aisling Franciosi), a 21-year-old native Irish wife and mother held captive beyond her seven-year sentence—and desperate to be free of her obsessed master, British lieutenant Hawkins. Clare's husband Aidan intervenes with devastating consequences for all. When British authorities fail to deliver justice, Clare pursues Hawkins, who leaves his post suddenly to secure a captaincy up north. Unfamiliar with the Tasmanian wilderness, Clare enlists the help of an orphaned Aboriginal tracker named Billy (Baykali Ganambarr). Marked by their traumas, the two fight to overcome their distrust and prejudices against the backdrop of Australia's infamous Black War.
“...There's a sense that THE NIGHTINGALE needs to be exactly the film it is, bubbling with completely justified anger and pain.” —Hannah Woodhead, Little White Lies “THE NIGHTINGALE is a movie about cyclical trauma, and Clare is the wheel that rolls through it all, Franciosi’s virtuosic performance hitting every emotional note: tenderness, terror, resolve, resentment, and rage.” —Francesca Mari, Vogue "If you're disgusted, horrified or upset by anything in THE NIGHTINGALE, then Kent has done her job. Using a traditional revenge movie template as her jumping off point, she reminds us that we can have no catharsis for the horrors of the past.” —Alistair Ryder, Film Inquiry
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