Interview: The Nightingale and the all-encompassing horror of colonialism

August 26th 2019

MMM The Nightingale

  • Jennifer Kent & Baykali Ganambarr :: Interview with Jack and André

It’s official:  The most shocking film of the year prompting the most walkouts doesn’t go to Tarantino’s boring ‘Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood’, or even Ari Aster’s genius but trashy ‘Midsommar’. It’s Jennifer Kent‘s ‘The Nightingale’. FBi Radio Filmlordes Jack and André chat to Jennifer and lead actor Baykali Ganambarr about confronting colonialism on film.

In ‘The Nightingale’ Queenslander Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) crafts a Tasmanian gothic in which an Irish convict (Aisling Franciosi) must learn to trust a Letteremairrener tracker, shellshocked by the attempted genocide of his people – in order to find the Lieutenant responsible for the death of her family. The film’s graphic depiction of colonial horror is the centrepiece, but the harsh setting of 19th Century Van Dieman’s Land is the backdrop to a universal story of trust, survival, communication and, as Kent would have you believe, hope.

The film has been the subject of fierce scrutiny; its most demanding scenes have been making headlines ever since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival a year ago. Speaking of which, the film took out impressive prizes: Elcho Island actor Baykali Ganambarr took out the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Talent and Jennifer Kent took the Special Jury Prize in a festival where she was the only female director in competition.

Made in collaboration with Tasmanian Elder Uncle Jim Everett, the film is violent, but strives to tell the truth of the era – the mistreatment of Aboriginal communities and the all-encompassing devastation of colonialism. It also claims to be the first film to feature palawa kani, a living Aboriginal language spoken in lutruwita/Tasmania. In a conversation with Filmlordes Jack and André, director Jennifer Kent and lead actor Baykali Ganambarr discuss the necessity to tell these stories, and what it takes to make a film that challenges the world.

Catch the uncut interview up top.

Catch Movies Movies Movies w/ Jack and André every Monday on Mornings.