Plot: Clare (Aisling Franciosi) was convicted in Ireland and shipped to Tasmania where she works as a maid for the army stationed there, under the command of Hawkins (Sam Claflin). She was supposed to go free years ago, but Hawkins isn’t ready to let her go. Things escalate and Clare finds herself devastated and bent on revenge against Hawkins. Hawkins is traveling through the forest to the next big city, so Clare resolves to follow. She hires the Indigenous Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) as a guide and moved by her desparation, Billy agrees against his better judgment. Making their way through the forest comes with its challenges quite apart from a hard treck – especially for a white woman only accompanied by a Black man.
The Nightingale is a rape-revenge film without exploitation and a feminist look at colonialism that, unfortunately, fails a little when it comes to considering intersectionalities. In any case, it’s a demanding and harsh film that is worthy of attention.
Jimmy Gralton (Barry Ward) returns to Ireland from the USA where he had to flee after opening a community dance hall that went against everything Father Sheridan (Jim Norton) stood for. Now he’s back and actually wants to take it slow. But the demand for the hall is still there and Jimmy is too invested in the original idea not to give it another shot. Since Ireland is in the middle of the communist scare and this dance hall a decidedly socialist project, Jimmy is bound to make some enemies again.
Jimmy’s Hall is a beautifully shot, engaging and political film set in Ireland – so pretty much what you’d expect from Ken Loach (though he sometimes makes films that are set in the UK as well). And that’s a very good thing.