Alexandra Heller-Nicholas is an Australian film critic who has written four books on cult cinema (the latest on Abel Ferrara’s Ms. 45, published by Columbia University Press). She is an editor of the film journal Senses of Cinema and a film critic on radio station Triple R in Melbourne with the Plato's Cave programme. She is the winner the 2017 AFIRC (Australian Film Institute’s Research Collection) Research Fellowship, and winner of a 2016 Australian Film Critics Association writing award.
Articles by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
Always Shine opens with a fourth-wall breaking close-up of a threatened woman in a state of visible distress, begging the off-screen male presence not to hurt her. Moments in, it is revealed the context of this scene is a just-as-confrontational audition where the harassment the woman faces in the script blurs with her treatment by the unseen men behind the camera. Read more>>read more
That ambulances were dispatched to TIFF screenings of the French cannibal film Raw to treat traumatised viewers has become as much a part of the general story of director Julia Ducournau’s rise as the film itself. In person, there’s a certain irony to this: she is surely the least likely person to warrant comparisons to someone like William Castle. Read more>>read more
In Australia, the very words “The Family” still send tremors through those of a certain generation, associated as they are with two notorious scandals in two different states. In the first instance, it was the name given by the press to a group of pedophile killers in Adelaide who during the late 1970s and early 1980s in particular that linked a number of highly regarded professional men to a series of hideous crimes, including five murders. As of 2016, only one of the murders had been solved, and only one arrest had been made despite the speculated involvement of up to ten others. In Melbourne, however, “The Family” evokes different ghosts: a cult (headed by the beautiful, almost ethereal Anne Hamilton-Byrne), linked to a long list of alleged abuses against its members, including children. Read more>>read more
Like a black comedy feminist Deliverance, Athina Rachel Tsangari finds lying within the cracks of masculine performativity an inherent struggle with the omnipresent ‘threat’ of the feminine. Indulging in a luxury fishing holiday on the Aegean Sea, a casual conversation launches what will become a driving obsession for its six protagonists as they establish the ground rules of “Chevalier”, a game whose winner is collectively decided to be the man who is “the best in general”. Read more>>read more