Audience members have reportedly been seen walking out of screenings for a new drama by Australian director Jennifer Kent, The Nightingale, as many became sickened over the brutal rape scenes that set the stage for the violent revenge film.
Members of the audience at the Sydney Film Festival were seen walking out early in the film because of the extremely violent and realistic rape scenes, according to IndieWire.
As the film unfolds, the main protagonist is raped over and over again by various attackers. As he walked out, one audience member was heard yelling, “She’s already been raped, we don’t need to see it again.”
One critic recently noted that the film is “some of the most atrocious on-screen violence in recent memory.”
But The Babadook director, Jennifer Kent, who was present during the showing in Sydney, said that she fully understood why some might want to walk out on her film.
“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,” Kent said.
But Kent went on to point an accusing finger at those who might do so saying, “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 also insisted that people who might walk out on her film are “contributing” to violence in the world.
“We’re in this mess in the world because people do want to turn away from it,” Kent said, “but we need to examine our behavior as well as others’ behavior and ask: ‘How do I contribute to the violence in the world?'”
The rape scenes early in the film are not the only violent scenes in The Nightingale. Starring as Claire, an Irish immigrant to Tasmania in the year 1825, Game of Thrones actress Aisling Franciosi goes on a bloody revenge spree murdering the British officers who raped her.
“It is a cauldron of blood, murders, and rapes so unflinching in vividness and brutality as to make it impossible to go through its 136 minutes without ever turning away from the screen, let alone to come out of it untouched,” Leonardo Goi wrote of the film last year when it debuted at the Venice Film Festival.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.