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

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:

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Set in mid-1820s Van Diemen’s Land, The Nightingale depicts a dark and disturbing Tasmanian past populated with redcoats, convicts, Aboriginal people, and a few free settlers. Controversial scenes include the repeated rape of a young female convict, the murders 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 white female lead, and the violence visited on the bodies of Tasmanian colonial woman Elizabeth Tibbs, her husband, and infant in 1826. After situating the film within its historical context, this paper provides a mimetic reading through elaborating these parallels. It interrogates key points of divergence between these fictional and historical accounts 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-first century 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:
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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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