Caleb Landry Jones, the man who portrayed the Port Arthur mass murderer in the Australian film Nitram, has won the Best Actor award at the annual Cannes Film Festival. It is the first Australian film to be chosen for the prestigious competition in a decade. Still, its focus on chronicling the perpetrator’s life has upset some of the survivors. Port Arthur municipality Mayor Kelly Spaulding told SBS News the award brings up old wounds.
I would have been happier if it had never been made,” she said of the film.
During the production, some survivors of the massacre expressed outrage over the film, raising concerns it would glorify the murderer. In December last year, Justin Woolley, a survivor of the killings and actual crime author, told The Feed that the film’s focus on the perpetrator of the horrific event is “tasteless. The language in the announcement of this film that it will
be a ‘study of one of the darkest chapters in Australian history’, and will focus on the study of a man being driven to do something so horrific, immediately raised alarm bells,” Mr Woolley said. American actor Caleb Landry Jones said it was “rather daunting” playing the role of a mass murderer. “It was very evident that people were going to be angry,” he told reporters in Cannes. “Some people probably pegged the film to be a certain kind of movie. But it is a compassionate piece and very respectfully made.