Anne Rutherford

Anne Rutherford is a film critic and Adjunct Associate Professor at Western Sydney University.

'Firebite': A First Nations vampire thriller

ABR Arts 16 December 2021
'Firebite': A First Nations vampire thriller
Eleven vials of smallpox virus were transported to Sydney on the First Fleet by Surgeon John White1. In the crucible of a filmmaker’s mind, this historical fact is forged into fantasy, the vials transmuted into eleven vampires, let loose to suck the lifeblood out of the local people. When that filmmaker is Warwick Thornton (Sweet Country, Samson and Delilah), this monstrous cargo becomes a metap ... (read more)

Such pretty teeth, dear: Sally Aitken's 'Playing with Sharks'

ABR Arts 18 June 2021
Such pretty teeth, dear: Sally Aitken's 'Playing with Sharks'
Any film about shark conservation faces a dilemma: how to de-sensationalise an animal whose cinematic charisma relies on the combination of thrill and fear. What reels us in as viewers is the excitement of an up-close, full-frontal encounter with a dangerous predator. Film scholar Tom Gunning talks about this as ‘lust for the eyes’, when an image ‘rushes forward to meet the viewer’, provok ... (read more)

'Who Goes Here?' | Fiona Hall’s spatially extended narrative

ABR Arts 17 May 2021
'Who Goes Here?' | Fiona Hall’s spatially extended narrative
Non-linear, interactive, random: hypertext fiction has scrambled our expectations of what narrative can be and how it can work. Today, control is wrested from authors, with readers using hyperlinks to navigate their own trajectory through multiple possible stories experienced in the virtual spaces of the internet. But what happens when those unpredictable pathways unfold across a physical space, n ... (read more)

'My Octopus Teacher' (Netflix)

ABR Arts 17 February 2021
'My Octopus Teacher' (Netflix)
In the hands of an occupational hygienist, the combination of light and a fluid medium is a scientific tool to demonstrate the flow of vapours, the way aerosols hang suspended in the air, tiny particles that linger and drift, hovering like miasmas. When the gaseous medium of air is freighted with moisture, light makes air visible, revealing it as dense and saturated. This sudden revelation brings ... (read more)