Film fest-goers scream, run from horror flick The Nightingale after graphic rape scenes

Film fest-goers scream, run from horror flick The Nightingale after graphic rape scenes
Photo credit: Transmission Films

Warning: This article discusses rape and violence and may be triggering for some people.

A Sydney Film Festival screening of horror film The Nightingale had audiences screaming and fleeing the cinema after graphic rape scenes and violence against children.

The Australian film played for more than 1000 punters at The Ritz cinema in Sydney - but according to the Daily Mail, a large majority of viewers walked out 20 minutes in.

The "brutal" period drama, which follows the story of a young Irish woman out for revenge, shows the main character being gang-raped early in the piece.

It was one of many explicit scenes that eventually prompted one audience member to scream out: "She's already been raped, we don't need to see it again".

Some movie-goers stuck it out only to leave later after being subjected to close-up footage of brutal stabbings and torture that featured babies and children.

New York Post movie critic Johnny Oleksinski wrote of the film's opening sequence: "It is one of my most unpleasant watches in recent memory, and one that I won't be repeating."

"[The Nightingale] will make you nauseous," he continued.

"Constantly having to shield your eyes from horrible imagery - as the audience was - would seem to defy the whole point of watching a movie.

Another critic, Chris Shortt dubbed the film, directed by Jennifer Kent, a "gruelling and grossly offensive misfire".

Kent reportedly sat in the audience after introducing the film, telling the audience making it was the toughest thing she ever had to do.

During a Q&A session following the screening, the director said she "totally understands" why some viewers could not sit through the on-screen violence.