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Picnic at Hanging Rock


misswonderly3
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I'm surprised no one on the "I Just Watched" thread has mentioned this movie.

I'd seen Picnic at Hanging Rock once before, years ago, but had forgotten much about it. I thought it was quite good. I love that mysterious feel to it, and I'm glad no explanation is offered as to what happens to the girls - and the school teacher - who venture into the rock, never to be seen again.

 

The film is full of atmosphere, an unusual combination of suppressed eroticism and eeriness. I don't know who Peter Weir's sound effects technician was, but whoever they were they were brilliant in the sound they created to represent the rock and the land around it, giving it a strange frightening quality which suggests it is sentient and somehow compelling the girls to enter its realm.

 

The scenes at the Rock were the best part of the movie. It's still interesting, but goes downhill a bit afterwards, with the story about Sara the sad  orphan, the two young men who search for the girls, and the oncoming dissolution and madness of nasty but pitiable Mrs. Appleyard.

 

Did anyone else watch this intriguing, strange movie? Any comments  about it?

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I didn't watch it yesterday, but I saw it for the first time about 2 or 3 years ago, and loved it. I thought it had some of the best cinematography of the era, and the haunting tone was very nicely done. The ambiguity was also a refreshing change of pace. 

 

I liked it enough to buy the Criterion Blu Ray, which came with a paperback version of the book the film was based on, by Joan Lindsay. I look forward to rewatching the film and reading the book.

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I did miss w, and have the same feelings about it. Your description is right on. The quietness within the house and some of the outdoor scenes was especially effective. How peaceful. The sound around the rock was not overbearing.. just enough to signify a possible presence of something.

 

My only objection in the whole film was the pan flute played by Gheorghe Zamfir, it interrupted the quiet scenes I was enjoying - Beethoven, not so much.

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Yes, missw3, I watched it for the first time.  I loved the film.  I loved the cinematography that made the film look like a somewhat faded picture-postcard, like the viewer is going back in time.   I thought that was terrific.

 

I loved that the film only Suggested Hanging Rock may have been a "bad place", and didn't hit the viewer over the head with that information.

 

Erotic symbols are everywhere in this movie.  One of the keys to the film, I think, is in the line of dialogue the first surviving girl whispers in the French teachers ear, which is translated into French and then whispered to a policeman in English.

 

Anne Louise Lambert as Miranda is excellent as the angelic girl too perfect to live. Interestingly, when the girls take off their shoes, she is the first to do so.

 

Rachel Roberts is perfect as Mrs. Appleyard, the headmistress of the  girls college.

 

This is one of those rare movies that is almost as much fun to think back on and wonder what was supposed to symbolize what.

 

I did some reading online about Hanging Rock after the film ended.  It apparently was used for "coming of age" ceremonies by various native tribes until the 1840's or 1850's.  That bit of information would have still been remembered (film is set in 1900).  There's a good article on Wikipedia, with sources for further reading.

 

Fascinating film, with horror only Implied.  I loved the movie. 

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