University Of Tasmania
137773-Uncanny parallels - Author's prepublication version.pdf (366.65 kB)

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

Download (366.65 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 11:34 authored by Kristyn HarmanKristyn Harman
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.


Publication title

Studies in Australasian Cinema








School of Humanities


Taylor & Francis

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

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:

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Understanding Australia’s past; Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology; Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania