Justin Kurzel’s Nitram will premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in July, the first Australian film to do so in a decade.
Scripted by Shaun Grant, the film stars Caleb Landry Jones as a loner who later goes on a shooting rampage.
It is understood to be based on the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, but depicts the events leading up to rather than the murders themselves. It does not mention the gunman’s name, though Nitram is ‘Martin’ backwards.
Judy Davis and Anthony LaPaglia play his parents, and Essie Davis a woman who befriends him.
Nitram was shot in Geelong, rather than Tasmania. The film’s initial announcement proved highly divisive, with many calling for it not to proceed.
Good Thing Productions’ Nick Batzias and Virginia Whitwell are the producers.
Cannes announced its first 61 titles today, 24 of which are in competition. Four of the competition films are from female directors, which is a record tied with 2019.
The festival will run as an in-person event, pushed from its usual May dates to July. Last year’s Cannes did not proceed after a number of postponements.
Up against Nitram are films such as Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, Sean Penn’s Flag Day, Jacques Audiard’s Les Olympiades and Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta. Spike Lee is president of the jury.
The last Australian film to screen in competition at the French festival was Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty in 2011.
In the same year, Kurzel’s debut Snowtown, also written by Grant, screened in Critic’s Week, where it was awarded President of the Jury Special Award Grand Prix.
The Kurzel-helmed Macbeth, a UK film, screened in competition in 2015.
Nitram is a Stan Original production, with Madman Entertainment to handle theatrical.
In Australia, it will premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August after receiving funding through the MIFF Premiere Fund.
The Cannes Film Festival will open July 6 with Leos Carax’s Annette, and run until July 17. See the full official selection here.