The Nightingale release

The Nightingale, the latest film from The Babadook director Jennifer Kent, had its debut at the Venice Film Festival in September of 2018, and then promptly vanished. The hype and buzz that surrounded Babadook didn’t seem to be swirling around The Nightingale as much, and many of us wondered when we’d finally get to see the movie. Now we know, thanks to IFC Films. IFC, who also distributed The Babadook, have snapped up the U.S. rights to the film, and plan to release it in summer 2019. The film is set in 1825, and follows a woman chasing a man through the Tasmanian wilderness on a quest for revenge.

The Babadook caused a sensation when it arrived in 2014, but director Jennifer Kent has been relatively silent since then. Now, the filmmaker is back with The Nightingale, which will finally see release in summer 2019. First though, the movie will have its North American Premiere in the Spotlight Section at the upcoming 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Here’s the synopsis:

THE NIGHTINGALE follows Clare (AISLING FRANCIOSI), a 21-year-old Irish convict in 1820s Tasmania, who having served her 7-year sentence, is desperate to be free of her abusive master, Lieutenant Hawkins (SAM CLAFLIN) who refuses to release her from his charge. Clare’s husband Aidan (MICHAEL SHEASBY), retaliates and she becomes the victim of a harrowing crime at the hands of the lieutenant and his cronies. Unable to secure justice from the British authorities, Clare decides to pursue Hawkins, who leaves his post suddenly to secure a captaincy up north. She is forced to enlist the help of a young Aboriginal tracker Billy (BAYKALI GANAMBARR) who grudgingly takes her through the rugged wilderness, to track down Hawkins. The terrain and the prevailing hostilities are frightening, as fighting between the original inhabitants of the land and its colonisers plays out in what is now known as ‘The Black War.’ Clare and Billy are hostile towards each other from the outset, both suffering their own traumas and mutual distrust, but as their journey leads them deeper into the wilderness, they must learn to trust each other, to see each other as more than a source of hatred, and to weigh up the true cost of revenge and violence.

Sounds intense. “IFC is the perfect choice for The Nightingale,” Kent said. “I have a lot of faith in them after working together on The Babadook and seeing firsthand how much they support and respect their filmmakers. I look forward to teaming up again in 2019 to bring The Nightingale to American audiences.”

Arianna Bocco, EVP of Acquisitions and Productions of IFC Films, added: “The Babadook was one of our most successful acquisitions at IFC and we could not be happier to continue our partnership with Jennifer on her next feature. She is undoubtedly one of the most talented writer/directors working today and we can’t wait to share The Nightingale with audiences across the country.”

I thought Kent’s direction for The Babadook was fantastic. That said, I wasn’t as enamored with it as everyone else, primarily because the child in the movie drove me nuts. I know that was the point – he was supposed to be a terror making his mother unhinged – but there’s only so many scenes of a kid screaming and flailing that I can take before I want to throw in the towel.

Still, I’m very excited to see what she does next, and I hope I can catch The Nightingale at Sundance this year.

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