The word came sailing out of a man’s mouth after a screening of Jennifer Kent’s latest movie, “The Nightingale,” at the Venice Film Festival last year. At first Kent thought the livid viewer must be joking: The heroine of “The Nightingale,” an Irish convict in 1820s Tasmania, is called a whore by her tormentors all through the film.
But the man wasn’t joking; he had hollered other angry phrases like “Shame on you!” He turned out to be a journalist and later apologized, and though the festival responded by revoking his credentials, the vitriol directed at Kent and her movie proved a harbinger of reactions to come.
In June, the film made headlines again, after a few dozen people walked out of showings at the Sydney Film Festival, one incensed woman shouting about the film’s portrayal of rape. Others took to Twitter to condemn the brutality borne onscreen by Aboriginal people.