Tag Archives: historical drama

Jennifer Kent’s THE NIGHTINGALE brings shared trauma from both sides of Australian colonialism.

Aisling Franciosi plays Clare, a woman bent on tracking the man who ruined her life in Jennifer Kent’s second movie The Nightingale. Baykali Ganambarr is Billy, the man she employs as her tracker.

THE NIGHTINGALE. Country, Australia. Canada, US. Director, Jennifer Kent. Screenwriter, Jennifer Kent. Cast: Aisling Franciosi, Baykali Ganambarr, Sam Claflin, Damon Herriman, Harry Greenwood, Michael Sheasby. Language, English, Scottish Gaelic, Palawa Kani. Runtime, 136 minutes. Venue: IFC Center. Mostly Indies rating: A

I’m a bit thrown off by the way that this, Jennifer Kent’s second film following her massive breakthrough source link here free online writing buy a research paper writing service write my esay source viagra online risks creative writing activities for 1st graders https://worldtop20.org/system/cheap-reflective-essay-writer-service-us/30/ sample business reports enter grad school term papers click here buy levitra from canada canada medication viagra esl bibliography editing site for school how can i buy viagra online writing essay service writing residencies https://thejeffreyfoundation.org/newsletter/what-is-literature-research/17/ custom geography essay source link writing with symbols follow peaceful environment essay follow site best creative writing program in us example of rough draft essay best curriculum vitae writer for hire uk http://pejepscothistorical.org/education/sample-dissertations/03/ https://aspirebhdd.org/health/is-viagra-prescription-in-canada/12/ where to buy viagra in edmonton The Babadook, is being marketed as a revenge film. Let me explain. Revenge does drive much of the story, but after the credits rolled, and the Q & A ended, I was left with a much bigger understanding about the tapestry woven in The Nightingale.

The events of Kent’s powerful story involve Clare (Aisling Franciosi), a young Irish convict living a hardscrabble life in 1820s Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen’s Land) with her husband and infant baby. Clare owes her freedom — and her fate — to Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin, who takes his character to the very edge of psychopathy), who takes delight in abusing Clare and forcing her to sing for his gang of alcoholic soldiers. After an incident in which Hawkins goes overboard in his mistreatment of her — a thing that has not gone unnoticed by his superior — Clare’s husband Aidan (Michael Sheasby), who’s had enough of this no-win situation, decides it’s time for he, Clare, and their young baby, to leave. However, a confrontation with Hawkins escalates into a terrible act of violence that leaves the family completely destroyed in the most literal sense, and Clare is left for dead.

When she revives, her personality is completely changed. No longer the submissive young woman of the start of the film, Clare seeks justice with the determination of a warrior. However, being a convict (and a woman against a man’s word), justice does not happen. So she burns her home, enlists Billy (Baykali Ganambarr), a local Aboriginal male to help her track Hawkins and his gang with the promise of payment. Hawkins, in the meantime, has left in search of a promotion he expects to receive.

Image from The Film Stage

Clare’s and Billy’s journey, which at times reminded me somewhat of the Hepburn – Bogart adventure in The African Queen (with the obvious difference that Clare’s and Billy’s takes place on land), comes with its own share of difficulties. The relationship between Clare and Billy is appropriately prickly, so much that it risks losing the audience who might momentarily stop caring for Clare. However, the times do indicate that neither Clare nor Billy would have been on good terms to begin with due to their racial differences alone and that Billy’s kind would have been seen as less than human. However, Clare is keenly aware that she needs Billy’s expert knowledge of the land to fulfill her plan. As a lone woman in the 1820s, Clare would be, by proxy, subject to rape or even murder by men in the wilderness who live beyond the law. Adding to her troubles is her own rash behavior. Throughout the film she forgoes safety and ventures into questionable behavior. Billy, on the other hand, has no beef in this situation, and once he witnesses Clare go into a maniacal fury against one of the men responsible for her tragedy — a premature climax — he almost turns away.

However, by this point, there is an indefinable link between the two of them, and his sense of duty as well as her own realization that she is lost without him keep them firmly together as they advance to whatever awaits them at the end of this chase.

This is where The Nightingale begins to morph into something else. Anyone seeking the flat revenge picture offered through the trailer will be disappointed. Anyone wanting to see a deeply moving story about shared grief which renders us the same at the hands of fate will truly be moved by Kent’s story. While we, as the audience, demand that Hawkins pay for his atrocities — mind you, he doesn’t stop at Clare but moves on to casually destroy the defenseless –, and indeed we will get there, Kent keeps a firm focus on Clare and Billy moving steadily behind, always within grasp of their objective. By the use of their own native languages — Clare’s Gaelic as a furious soundboard to Billy’s own Palawa Kani — we hear two people railing against the horrors of colonialism. Billy realizes that Clare and he share much more, even when it takes her a bit longer to reach this point of understanding, so focused is she in her mission. These are two haunted people that learn to stick together. Their scenes together form passages of enormous beauty in which Clare will sing softly into the night, or towards the end, when all is said and done, the two face a brilliant Sun and Billy, clothed in the garments of his people, performs a dance of defiance, daring the world to erase him.

The Nightingale is not an easy film to see. This is a movie marked by acts of incredible violence against women and Aborigines alike, and after Clare’s own horrific sequence, there will be one more that happens twice, almost daring the audience to look away. Kent, however, will not do that, and instead keeps the camera on its grim, awful story because the near eradication of the native people at the heart of the historical drama demand it so. This is a far, far stronger piece than The Babadook because this one is rooted in a bleak part of Australian history, whereas horror is often trapped in its own genre limitations. That Kent tackles this topic with so much elegance and compassion speaks of her commitment to telling the truth, even when the result might not be satisfying at all levels.

Marine Francen’s THE SOWER places women in a microcosm of power struggles in which one man is the prize.

THE SOWER, France. Director: Marie Francen. Cast: Pauline Burlet, Geraldine Pailhas, Alban Lenoir, Francoise Lebrun. Screenwriters: Jacqueline Surchat, Jacques Fieschi. Based on the book by Violette Ailhaud. Language: French. Runtime 98 minutes. US Release date: March 1, 2019. Venue: Gene Siskel Theater, Cbicago, IL. Rating B.

You probably have never heard of Marine Francen, and barely remember French actress Francoise Lebrun, who made her mark in the 1973 film The Mother and the Whore (a movie that gets an ample discussion scene in Noah Baumbach’s 2005 film The Squid and the Whale) and who has a small part in The Sower. This is because Francen’s movie, which premiered at San Sebastian in 2017 and won the New Director’s award, features no marquee names, and is as obscure as the source material from which it emerges from. Based on the book by Violette Ailhaud, which did not see the light of day until almost 100 yeats after her death in 1925, this amazingly real story of women left to their own devices is based on real events.

It turns out, and I am recounting from historical events, in 1851, President Louis Napoleon declared himself Emperor of France following a coup-d’etat to ensure he could remain in power. In doing so, he decimated the male population, sending Republican sympathizers either to their deaths or to exile, leaving the countryside a place devoid of men. One could see where following so much unrest, women would despair and feel as though the walls had closed in and they now had next to no protection, no guidance, and in essence, nothing to live for.

Into this world we get introduced to 16 year old Violette Ailhaud (Pauline Burlet), a wide-eyed innocent girl who takes refuge with other townswomen in a village. One afternoon, as they sit about and ponder their fates, Violette posits the question: what to do if a man comes into their world? It seems almost child’s play, what they come up with in a pastoral equivalent of the conjuring of the Witches of Eastwick, but all of the women decide — and make a pact — that they will all share this man, equally, no hierarchy, he will belong to all of them.

If this were a story of fiction I would have then labeled what happens next as shamelessly contrived for dramatic effect. Into their world walks in a man — Jean (Alban Lenoir, looking rugged and mysterious while displaying a wiry sexuality about him). No reason as to why, he just appears, and gets welcomed into the makeshift village where the women live in wait. Jean takes to Violette almost naturally, and while the women allow them to play boyfriend snd girlfriend, it’s clear that their relationship has an expiration date. Jean, unbeknownst to him, will have to be told that he is to be a man and husband for the rest of the women.

Again, that this story even occurred seems a slight bit of fantasy in itself, but in Ailhaud’s book, these events did transpire. Francen and her team of screenwriters don’t delve too much into a scenario that veers out of the aspects of the story and into proto-feminist warfare. In essence, the narration is kept lean, pastoral, sensual, but focused on the cards at hand. The Sower is not a loud debut picture, but a quiet little attempt at painting a picture of a society governed by uncertainty and fear, and in that, and in its ensemble cast, it succeeds.

Available on Amazon Prime and DVD formats.