The first trailer for Nitram, Justin Kurzel’s movie about the Port Arthur mass murderer, has been released.
The film, written by Kurzel’s Snowtown collaborator Shaun Grant, is set to premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival next week, and is the first Australian movie to compete for the Palme D’Or in a decade.
Nitram stars Caleb Landry Jones, Essie Davis, Judy Davis and Anthony LaPaglia in a look at Australia’s worst mass shooting in modern history by a single person, occurring in 1996 at Port Arthur, killing 35 people and wounding 23.
The film does not name the killer or depict any violence, instead using titles, fictional names and honorifics.
The brief trailer features a monologue on the murderer’s childhood, describing him hiding from his mother, played by Judy Davis, to convince her that he’d gone missing.
“[He was] lying on the floor of the back seat, looking up at me laughing,” Davis says.
“Laughing at my pain…laughing like it was the funniest thing in the world.”
Watch it below.
An Australian cinematic release will be announced soon.
Per a Sydney Morning Herald report from last year, filming was done in Geelong rather than in Tasmania – supposedly to avoid igniting controversy in the state where the massacre occurred.
In a new interview with Deadline, Kurzel and Grant emphasised Nitram‘s restraint with the latter describing it as his “anti-gun film”.
“I met a lot of Australian twentysomethings out in LA and they’d have no idea about Port Arthur and it really shocked me and made me nervous because you can forget a perpetrator’s name but to forget events is a very dangerous thing,” Grant said.
The pair were also asked about how they managed the sensitivities of the film with the victim’s families.
“We’ve been really open and transparent about what we’re making, what the point of view is and what we’re trying to say in this film. But it’s been very hard. People have not wanted to be associated with it so it’s been very hard to find that conduit between us and the community that has been so affected by it,” Kurzel explained.
“We’ve been going through a process of consultation that’s been going on for some time and are still going through that and privately we have been making ourselves available. I’ve spoken to various people that were connected to the shootings to pull it off but it’s an ongoing process and of course there are those that don’t want to speak to us and we completely and utterly respect that. It’s about us being available and present. We don’t want to force ourselves on the community that might not want to engage.”