Oscar Wilde's The Nightingale and the Rose - hero image
Stories & Ideas

Sun 19 Jun 2016

Making the Nightingale and the Rose

Art Craft Exhibition
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Bringing the bird to life

Mia Wasikowska has this otherworldly beauty and femininity which is how I see the Nightingale.

Del Kathryn Barton.

The dual characters of Mia as the speaking voice and Sarah Blasko as the singing voice bring together two contemporary Australian talents in this timeless animation.

Hand made elements bring an intricate beauty and organicness to the character.  Innocent and pure, intense and raw, the Nightingale was brought to life - from pressed ink, to watercolour, to incredible digital form. 

The hand made elements and other props and sets were on display during our extraordinary exhibition Del Katherine Barton: The Nightingale and the Rose.


Del Kathryn Barton: I always just very, very deeply connected to the character of the Nightingale, who I have gone on to talk about her, symbolizing for me almost the essence of what it means to be an artist. That she commits totally from her deepest core and literally gives her lifeblood to the creation of something that she absolutely believes in.

Brendan Fletcher: The role of the Nightingale is very challenging. She is a lot of things that are at times contradictory. She's kind of naive but wise, she's kind of old but young, and brave but maybe too sentimental. She's an idealist. She gives her life for some things. So to wrap all of that up into a performance that is believable and credible is very challenging. And Mia gave it an instant credibility and believability.

Del: Mia just has this very otherworldly beauty and femininity, that is the way that I see the Nightingale as well.

Brendan: She had a vulnerability to her voice as well as a power and a strength; how she was taking breaths gives us the breath of the Nightingale. It gives us the breath of the bird. So that's going to influence how long we hold a shot for. Similarly when Sarah Blasko's music first came to us, it reaffirmed for us we do need to make this film a little bit dark in these sections, we do need it to be a bit haunting here. And I think in a way, the music is going to be informing the development of the pictures. But before that, the very early paintings informed our discussions with Sarah about the music. So it's a constantly interactive process where I guess gradually it does emerge, but never in a linear fashion.

Sarah Blasko: I wanted to do something that on a gut level felt was going to suit the images; something that was hugely atmospheric and passionate. I feel like you just totally enter into another world with these paintings and the look of this whole film. You know it's an old poem by Oscar Wilde but it's this really, I think, a very modern retelling of it. So I guess I responded in the way that I thought that the music should be.

Brendan: Now that we have Mia's voice, now that we have Sarah's music - how does that inform the rhythms of the film? How does that inform the character of the Nightingale? How does that inform the images that we've made decisions about already?

Del: It's just about still connecting to all the elements and refining those elements and the interrelationships of those elements. Now I know that a lot of people read this idea of sacrifice in this story but I connect less to that actually. Certainly in the case of the Nightingale, she's able to connect so deeply to her own essence that she opens herself up as a conduit. It's a very idealistic way of talking about creative life, but at best I think when you find something that you know you can give very, very deeply to that is a great gift actually. And regardless of the outcome, I think if you're giving in a very, very pure and open way to something in a moment in time, that's magic really.