The Student with the Red Rose
The Student with the Red Rose

In 2010, acclaimed artist Del Kathryn Barton and renown filmmaker Brendan Fletcher had a casual conversation about working Barton’s series of Oscar Wilde inspired artworks into a short film.

Six years later, Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose, was born.

Currently showing at ACMI, the 14-minute adaption of Wilde’s tale of the same title is now open to the public.

The film took three years to produce with Barton and Fletcher working closely with award-winning post-production house, Method Studios. The team used a mix of handmade props and post-production animation techniques to meticulously craft the piece.

What they have created is an intense and beautiful rendition of Wilde’s original, featuring a chilling score by Sarah Blasko and the voices of some of Australia’s most celebrated actors including Geoffrey Rush and Mia Wasikowska.

The fairytale centers around a strong yet vulnerable female protagonist, represented by the Nightingale who intends to find a red rose for her ‘true lover’ the Student to present to his own ‘love’, the Daughter.

The Nightingale becomes the rose, through a sacrificial offering of her own life. This climatic scene strongly employs both audio and visual components to create a harrowingly emotive sequence, that is one of the most memorable and moving of the film.

Like Barton’s artworks, The Nightingale and the Rose, is a perfect juxtaposition of romantic grunge and delicate femininity. The colour, repetition and line used in the film pays homage to Barton’s original pieces especially in consideration to the landscape of the Garden and to the depiction of each of the three main characters.

The Nightingale and The Rose exhibits at ACMI in Melbourne from 21st June to 11th September and is free to enter.