Jennifer Kent on THE NIGHTINGALE and Witnessing Violence -Jessica Zack interviews

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Sexual violence is excruciating to watch. So is any violence motivated by racism. And with her new film The Nightingale, an elemental, near-mythic 19th century revenge tale told from a woman’s perspective, Jennifer Kent wants to remind us that they absolutely should be.

When the Australian writer-director first started thinking about the movie she would make as the follow-up to her knockout 2014 debut, the inventive horror film The Babadook, Kent found herself struck by this: While devastating and unrepentant acts of violence — against women, but also against swaths of people who have been colonized or displaced, who lack resources and proper protection — continue unabated in the world, we largely shield ourselves from honestly depicting violence in any real, meaningful way.

Sure, rape-revenge plots have a history in cinema, but it’s a problematic, all-too-often titillating tradition. It rarely involves a woman behind the camera “or a true look at just how problematic, costly, even futile, vengeance can be as a solution,” Kent said recently by phone from her native Brisbane. Continue reading

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Jessica Zack

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jessica Zack is a freelance journalist who has been writing about film for the San Francisco Chronicle since 2004. She also covers visual arts, books and general culture for the Chronicle, and contributes regularly to San Francisco Magazine and other publications. She is a graduate of Stanford University and got her start writing for the Palo Alto Weekly. Can be found on Twitter: @jwzack