Poet: Nicole Blackman

Victim by Nicole Blackman

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A short film shot in Australia and based on a spoken-word poem by the New York-based poet Nicole Blackman. I found a review from 2005 in RealTime Arts Magazine. This was apparently Corrie Jones’ directorial debut. He persuaded Blackman to take an active role in adapting the poem for the film, and it is she doing the voiceover.

Victim was filmed and produced in Perth by a group of relative newcomers, but its local impact was immediate. The first screenings in Perth were controversial, where it was shown with Siddiq Barma’s Osama as part of the 2003 Perth International Arts Festival. With the serial killings of 3 young women in Perth’s northern suburbs still haunting the newspaper headlines, Victim hit a raw nerve. Although the film shows a bound and gagged woman at the mercy of an armed kidnapper, many viewers interpreted the film as being about a woman’s rape, which is not even indirectly implied.

Jones views the film’s real subject as self-empowerment rather than victimisation. His protagonist struggles to the end, and when she realises she may die, she attempts to live the last moments of her life with psychological strength and resolve, rather than annihilating terror. “I wanted to show an inner strength through the detachment of the narration”, Jones explains. “The film is about a woman confronting her fears, dealing with them as they hit her.”

Victim has already won a number of prestigious Australian awards, including an Early Career Award at the 2003 WA Screen Awards, the SBS Eat Carpet award, and Best New Director award at the 2004 St Kilda Film Festival.