Aisling Francoisi

Aisling FrancoisI

From “The Irish Times” by Donald Clarke.

FOR THE IRISH-ITALIAN ACTOR, WORKING ON HER LATEST FILM, THE NIGHTINGALE, WAS EMOTIONALLY  WRENCHING. IT LEFT HER WITH A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE 

We must resist the temptation to say that Aisling Franciosi is everywhere. It’s about to feel that way, but the Irish-Italian actor – she nods to both nationalities – has ridden the peaks and troughs of her precarious business. A little over a year ago, her gut-wrenching performance in Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale knocked the Venice Film Festival sideways. As we meet, she’s shooting the juiciest role in a BBC adaptation of Rumer Godden’s Black Narcissus. There is, however, no sense of complacency.

“After The Nightingale, I got one more job and then I had a horrible year – until July of last year,” she says. “You work solidly for seven years and then there’s a dry spell. That was interesting. The Nightingale was getting a lot of attention and people were saying: ‘You’re having such a busy year.’ But I wasn’t actually working.”

People say: ‘If you have positive thoughts, that’s going to affect how you feel.’ The same is true if you are putting yourself in negative feelings for 16 hours a day. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the shoot 

At any rate, The Nightingale is finally here to unsettle and engage brave audiences. Kent’s follow-up to The Babadook casts Franciosi as an Irish immigrant to Tasmania who, after a brutal rape, follows her assailant through rough terrain towards a horrific reckoning. Along the way, she gains an understanding of connections between the colonised Irish and the indigenous peoples of Australia. The consistently strong reviews all focused on the ruthless integrity of Franciosi’s performance. It was an emotionally wrenching experience.

“I had played traumatising roles before, but I had been able to leave the work behind when I went home,” she says. “But this was a whole different experience. The material is very heavy in terms of the violence against women and the racially motivated violence. I had nine months between getting the role and shooting. I did a lot of research. I worked with a clinical psychologist. She had worked with the script since the beginning. She facilitated me meeting real victims of domestic violence.

People say: ‘If you have positive thoughts, that’s going to affect how you feel.’ The same is true if you are putting yourself in negative feelings for 16 hours a day. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the shoot 

At any rate, The Nightingale is finally here to unsettle and engage brave audiences. Kent’s follow-up to The Babadook casts Franciosi as an Irish immigrant to Tasmania who, after a brutal rape, follows her assailant through rough terrain towards a horrific reckoning. Along the way, she gains an understanding of connections between the colonised Irish and the indigenous peoples of Australia. The consistently strong reviews all focused on the ruthless integrity of Franciosi’s performance. It was an emotionally wrenching experience.

“I had played traumatising roles before, but I had been able to leave the work behind when I went home,” she says. “But this was a whole different experience. The material is very heavy in terms of the violence against women and the racially motivated violence. I had nine months between getting the role and shooting. I did a lot of research. I worked with a clinical psychologist. She had worked with the script since the beginning. She facilitated me meeting real victims of domestic violence.”

Baykali Ganambarr and Aisling Franciosi in The Nightingale: ‘The material is very heavy in terms of the violence against women and the racially motivated violence.’ Photograph: Matt Nettheim/IFC Films

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