Babadook director Jennifer Kent defended her new film The Nightingale as "honest and necessary portrayal" of a brutal historical moment, after scenes of rape and graphic violence pushed some ticket holders to leave the screenings Sunday and Monday night.

The film, written and directed by Kent, takes place in 1825 in Tasmania, during the massacres of Aboriginal Australians by the war. It is articulated around the story of Claire (Aisling Fanciosi), a 21-year-old former Irish detainee who was found trapped by a brutal master, Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin).

During the first half hour, several people forced Claire to rape and rape her. Her framing of the camera forced the viewer to look at the pain she felt in the face – almost from her rapist's point of view. According to a report, when the film was screened Sunday night at Randwick, the audience left the cinema with a woman who shouted: "She has already been raped, we do not need to see her again".

The last time Claire is raped, her husband and baby are murdered in the same room, in a scene punctuated by screams from Monday night's public. She then pays a shilling to guide her to Launceston, an indigenous man from the area, Billy (Baykali Ganambarr), where she hopes to take revenge.

As Claire and Billy embark on a journey that will bring them closer together, the public is witnessing the increasing number of indiscriminate murders committed by the English invaders, particularly among Aboriginal peoples, whose One – a woman with a toddler – had been taken for slave sex.

Speaking in front of the public Monday night, after a screening during which a handful of other members of the public went out, Kent said that she understood that rape scenes would be hard to watch, because they had been hard to achieve – but she thought that they had not been. was shot in an unpleasant manner.

Focusing on the faces of women rather than their bodies, she said, she wanted the public to take into account the pain and trauma of women sentenced at the time. These women were eight times as numerous as the number and suffered so much from their masters – rape, beatings and psychological abuse – that they would deliberately commit small crimes just to be locked up in an isolation cell. for three weeks at a time.

In a comment on the media Monday, Kent said she and Franciosi had been contacted by victims of sexual violence who were grateful for the film. "I do not think it would happen if the film was free or exploitative at all," she said.

"Although The Nightingale contains accurate historical descriptions of colonial violence and racism against our Aboriginal peoples, the film does not deal with" violence "… We did this film in collaboration with Aboriginal elders from Tasmania. their story and a story that needs to be told. I am extremely proud of the film. "

Jim Everett, an Aboriginal Elder from Tasmania who was brought to treatment and who worked on the film until post-production, is an executive producer. "One rarely sees the truth, even in the documentaries about the situation in Tasmania, about the fact that there had been a real attempt at genocide," he says in the film's production notes. "I thought that as a fiction, she was reflecting the real story, so I had to support her."

In fact, said Kent, with respect to the colonial violence directed against indigenous Australians in Tasmania, the film was retained. "If we showed what really arrived in Tasmania in 1825, no audience could bear it. "

The Nightingale is the first feature film to present Palawa Kani, a dialect reconstructed from the almost extinct language of native Tasmania, which, according to Kent, has developed as the film progresses.

The film was first shown at the Venice Film Festival last year, where it was the only film directed by a woman from the main competition and where he won the Jury Special Prize. .

When asked Monday what she was expecting people coming out of the movies, Kent said, "I'm trying not to have any expectations. I did not think the Babadook would become a gay icon. But we are in 2019 and we are there. "