More has been written about Rolf de Heer than about most Australian film directors of his generation, but Jane Freebury's Dancing to His Song contains its share of fresh material. Who knew, for instance, that de Heer spent five months in the Philippines as the original, uncredited director of the obscure action movie Driving Force (1989), starring Patrick Swayze's lookalike brother Don and billed as 'Mad Max with tow trucks'? Still more intriguing is the revelation that de Heer turned down the chance to direct Alien 3 (1992), which in retrospect seems an opportunity missed. Whatever challenges he might have faced in adjusting his stubborn temperament to Hollywood, there is no denying the resemblance between Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley – the hardbitten protagonist of the Alien series – and the vengeful outsider heroines of later de Heer films such as Epsilon (1995) and Alexandra's Project (2003).
Jake Wilson reviews 'Dancing to His Song: The singular cinema of Rolf de Heer' by Jane Freebury
Dancing to His Song: The singular cinema of Rolf de Heer
by Jane Freebury
Currency Press $49.99 pb, 364 pp, 9781925005585
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Jake Wilson is a freelance writer who lives in Melbourne and reviews films regularly for The Age. Formerly the Melbourne correspondent for Urban Cinefile and a co-editor of Senses of Cinema, he has contributed to a range of print and online publications, including Kill Your Darlings, RealTime, Bright Lights Film Journal, and Meanjin. Some of his film writings are archived on his personal website.
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