Ever since I heard (seven long years ago) that a documentary film was in production about the life of Rosaleen Norton, I've been anxiously awaiting its release. I didn't really know that much about Norton, other than that she was an important and controversial figure in the bohemian, art, and occult circles of Sydney, Australia in the late 40s and 50s.
Last night, I finally got to see the film and I was truly impressed with its quality and impact. Using historical footage, dramatizations, interviews, newspaper clippings, pictures of her artwork, diary entries, and dance performance, award-winning Australian filmmaker, Sonia Bible, does an inspiring job of creating an effective whole out of this collage of media. Everything is artfully stitched together by a soundtrack of Norton's beloved classical and jazz music of the period. I highly recommend this movie if you're interested in art, the occult, proto-feminist icons, and the history of Sydney's bohemian scene in the 1950s.
Director Bible writes of the film:
In 1950s Sydney, bohemian artist Rosaleen Norton hits the headlines with allegations of satanic rituals, obscene art and sex orgies. She worships the God Pan, and practices trances and sex magic, inspired by the work of Aleister Crowley. Eventually the relentless scandals lead to the downfall of her high society lover, Sir Eugene Goossens. Told 'in her own words', the film weaves stylized drama and erotic dancers with never before seen artworks, diaries and scrapbooks. The Witch of Kings Cross is the fascinating portrait of a fearless woman outlaw railing against fearful conservative forces and an insight into the work of an uncelebrated genius. In today's new wave of feminism, Rosaleen's story has never been more pertinent.
The Witch of Kings Cross is currently available online at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, and Vimeo On-Demand.