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Film Critic at ‘Nightingale’ Venice Screening Yells Sexist Remark About Jennifer Kent, and the Director Has a Powerful Response

"The Babadook" director is notable for being the only female director in competition at the Venice Film Festival this year.

Jennifer Kent, Aisling Franciosi

Jennifer Kent, Aisling Franciosi

Alberto Terenghi/Venezia 2018/Shutterstock

UPDATE (September 6, 2018): Per the Venice Film Festival’s official Twitter account, the festival has withdrawn the press accreditation for the man who shouted sexist insults at director Jennifer Kent. The festival called the incident “a regrettable fact” and said it had “immediately” pulled the person’s credentials.

Jennifer Kent’s “The Nightingale” debuted for press at the Venice Film Festival ahead of its official world premiere, but the screening was disrupted when an Italian film critic shouted a sexist and derogatory remark about the director when her name appeared in the end credits. The critic called Kent a variation on the word “prostitute” and “whore,” in addition to shouting “shame on you” at her, according to Deadline and critics in attendance.

“The Nightingale” is Kent’s second directorial effort after the breakout success of her Sundance sensation “The Babadook,” which is widely considered a modern horror classic. Her latest release takes place in 1825 and stars “Game of Thrones” actress Aisling Franciosi. The plot centers around an Irish convict who sets out into the Tasmanian wilderness on a mission of revenge against the British officer who committed an act of violence against her family.

During the film’s Venice press conference, Kent responded to the critic’s controversial remark by taking the high rode. “The Nightingale” is notable for being the only Venice competition title directed by a woman.

“I think it’s of absolute importance to react with compassion and love for ignorance,” Kent said. “There is no other option. The film speaks very clearly to that. I am very proud of the film and my crew for daring to tell a story that needs to be told. Love, compassion, kindness are our lifeline and if we don’t utilize them we will all go down the plughole.”

“The Nightingale” currently does not have a U.S. distributor.

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