Jennifer Kent is ready to shoot her follow-up to The Babadook

The Nightingale will tell the dark history of colonialism in Australia.

Words

John Wadsworth

Australian director Jennifer Kent had us on the edge of our seats with her breakthrough film as writer/director, 2014’s chilling horror The Babadook. And we’ve stayed there ever since, eager to see what her next move will be.

Rumours that she was being considered to helm Captain Marvel led nowhere – apparently Kent isn’t keen on helming a big-budget blockbuster anytime soon, and has referred to David Lynch and Lars von Trier as her artistic “mentors by proxy” in this respect.

Bubbling beneath the surface, though, was talk of another project called The Nightingale, which has now been revealed to be entering production next month.

Set in Tasmania in the 1820s, the film follows a young Irish female convict whose family is murdered by a British soldier. With the help of an Aboriginal tracker, she heads for the wilderness in hope of exacting revenge.

The landscape itself looks likely to play a central role, with Kent referring to the desert outback “as the centre of hell”.

We’re intrigued to see how cinematographer Radek Ladczuk captures this landscape, especially given that Gustave Doré’s haunting monochrome illustrations are one of Kent’s chief inspirations for the film.

In an interview with the Guardian last year, Kent revealed that she planned to use the plot to delve into Australia’s dark history of colonialism: “We only hear the sanitised version and I wanted to explore it for real.”

There may not be any big names in front of the camera – Aisling Franciosi and Sam Claflin head up the cast – but we’re marking this down as one to watch out for.

Published 17 Mar 2017

Tags: Jennifer Kent

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