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Uncanny parallels: Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, violence, and the Vandemonian past


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Harman, K ORCID: 0000-0002-0567-3736 2020 , 'Uncanny parallels: Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, violence, and the Vandemonian past' , Studies in Australasian Cinema, vol. 14, no. 1 , pp. 35-46 , doi: 10.1080/17503175.2020.1756172.

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Set in mid-1820s Van Diemen’s Land, The Nightingale depicts a dark and disturbingTasmanian past populated with redcoats, convicts, Aboriginal people, and a few freesettlers. Controversial scenes include the repeated rape of a young female convict, themurders of her husband and infant, and the rape and murder of an Aboriginal woman.Uncanny parallels can be drawn between the on-screen experiences of the whitefemale lead, and the violence visited on the bodies of Tasmanian colonial womanElizabeth Tibbs, her husband, and infant in 1826. After situating the film within itshistorical context, this paper provides a mimetic reading through elaborating theseparallels. It interrogates key points of divergence between these fictional and historicalaccounts of women’s lives to explore what they reveal about gender, class, race,violence, and justice in colonial Van Diemen’s Land and its depiction in twenty-firstcentury Australia.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Harman, K
Keywords: history, Tasmania; Australia, film, The Nightingale, convicts
Journal or Publication Title: Studies in Australasian Cinema
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1750-3175
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/17503175.2020.1756172
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Studies in Australasian Cinema on 22/04/2020, available online:

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