Known as the Witch of Kings Cross, notorious artist Rosaleen Norton faced allegations of satanic rituals, obscene art, and sex orgies in 1950s Sydney. But this new film from writer/director Sonia Bible (Recipe for Murder) asks ‘did the scandals mask her genius?
Rosaleen Norton regularly hits the headlines throughout the 50s. She worshipped the God Pan and practiced trances and sex magic, inspired by the work of occultist, artist, and poet 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 (Rosaleen is played by actress Kate Elizabeth Laxton) 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.
Filmmaker Sonia Bible discovered Rosaleen Norton’s story when researching her first film, Recipe For Murder, about women who poisoned their husbands with rat poison in Sydney in the 1950s. Articles about Rosaleen kept popping up in the tabloid newspapers of the time.
“I was immediately struck by the bravery and sheer determination of Rosaleen Norton. She was a wild, creative woman, decades ahead of her time. She never gave up her artistic pursuits, no matter how hard the authorities made it. I found that inspiring,” Sonia says.
The Witch of Kings Cross celebrates Rosaleen’s fierce individualism, returns her iconic but underappreciated visual art to the spotlight, and reveals the classic references, including music, that inspired her.