The Babadook director Jennifer Kent’s new film sounds extremely brutal. The film, titled The Nightingale, follows an Irish convict named Claire who chases down the British officer as revenge for abusing her for years. The film is reportedly so violent that IndieWire reports several audience members walked out of its screening at the Sydney Film Festival.
What makes this movie so violent? It apparently includes “multiple brutal rape scenes in its first 30 minutes.” An audience member who left, IndieWire writes, reportedly shouted, “She’s already been raped, we don’t need to see it again.” Critics who saw it at the Venice Film Festival last year also noted its extreme violence, with one critic calling it “some of the most atrocious on-screen violence in recent memory.”
At the Sydney Film Festival screening, Kent told audiences that viewers had “every right” to walk out during the violent scenes. In an interview she did with Vulture earlier this year, Kent went into detail about her feelings on showing such violence in the movie, particularly the rape scenes:
“I can understand people not wanting to see things if they’ve had bad events happen in their lives and it’s triggering. I completely understand that, and I would protect people’s right to make that decision. But this to me really indicates a massive problem, because there are people who don’t want to accept that this happens and it’s a terrible thing. And if it’s done in a way that’s incredibly sensitive and about the story, what are they worried about? I don’t understand that.”
Kent added, “We’re in this mess in the world because people do want to turn away from it, but we need to examine our behavior as well as others’ behavior and ask: ‘How do I contribute to the violence in the world?’”