The story of Rosaleen Norton, later known as the Witch Of Kings Cross in this eponymous doco, is an impressive blend of social history, shock-horror and solid filmmaking. Norton thought herself a witch, and after a privileged upbringing fled to 1950s Kings Cross and enrolled at what is now the National Art School. Her exhibitions in Melbourne attracted censure, and she was accused of witchcraft, to which she readily admitted.
Her art incorporated themes of paganism, magic sex and trance sex. These ideas might seem odd now, but in her time it was crazy revolutionary. And did nothing to endear her to the authorities, who actually burned her artwork.
The Witch Of Kings Cross is not only an insight of this self-described dark witch, but also the 1950s in the Cross and the thriving subculture of the time.
But don’t worry. One of her contemporaries confessed, “She a harmless sort of witch. Her spells never worked.”
Reviewed by Olga Azar