Aisling Franciosi in The Nightingale

There isn’t much comfort to be found in Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale -- and for good reason. 

The follow-up to the writer and director’s 2014 psychological horror hit The Babadook, the film is a lacerating look at Australia’s colonisation, and has drawn an intense amount of both praise and ire. The film won the Special Jury Prize in Venice, received The Age’s critics prize at MIFF last month, and has been discussed as an “urgent” and “necessary” work. But The Nightingale’s unvarnished violence has also prompted sexist insults (directed at Kent) and frequent walkouts. I have seen the film twice, and both times women exited the cinemas sobbing.

“I think it's a good thing,” Kent says about the confronting nature of her film. “Not everyone wants to feel difficult feelings, and examine those themselves. But that doesn’t mean there’s not importance in actually putting the truth on screen.”