Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Some were never to return.
On Saint Valentine's Day in 1900, the female students at a private Australian school are given permission by their stern headmistress to travel to an ancient volcanic outcropping for an afternoon picnic. The beautiful day turns into a nightmare when a few among them, including the beautiful and enigmatic Miranda, vanish without explanation on Hanging Rock.
Read any review for Peter Weir’s mesmerising masterpiece, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and you will see the words haunting, dream-like and enigmatic appear time and again. They are vague and uncertain descriptions but perfectly apt for a film that is elusive, ambiguous and rich in symbolism, complexity and interpretation. I have watched the film numerous times over the years (this, my first viewing in high-definition) and every time I am surprised by the new things I find, the new interpretations I dream up and the mixed emotions the film manages to evoke.
On Valentine’s Day in 1900, a school trip to Victoria’s Hanging Rock turns to disaster when three students and their teacher disappear without trace. Whilst sounding like the…
Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock is a mystical and beautiful film that I failed to connect to completely.
Set in Australia in 1900 and centred around a real life mysterious disappearance of three girls and one teacher, it explores the nature of said disappearance and the effect it had on the school and the community.
The first act had me glued to the screen. The attention given to creating a convincing depiction of the time period is something I always respect and admire. When the group of young women arrive at the rock for the picnic, Weir manages to create a sense of unease and mystery that transfixes and intrigues. He almost makes the rock a character, a mystical force…
A film that is highly praised by many unfortunately I do not belong to this group! While I enjoyed the scenery and the illusion that something mystical or something beyond this world may or may not be involved was for the most part semi intriguing but in the end there just wasn't enough substance to grab me!
"This we do for pleasure, so that we may shortly be at the mercy of venomous snakes and poisonous ants."
The above quote from Picnic At Hanging Rock is the type of device that you see used a lot in mystery and thriller films especially, and it's a device I don't much care for.
It's usually such an unsubtle and clumsy way of setting up some drama to come, usually the antithesis of what is being stated by way of wanting to prove that character and his or her thoughts wrong, quite often as a method as marking them out as an antagonist. In a film like this, such a technique should be maddening as this is quite clearly not…
"Three girls and a teacher from an exclusive Australian academy unaccountably vanish while visiting a local beauty spot. Set in the Indian summer of the Victorian era, the film is dominated in turns by vague feelings of unease, barely controlled sexual hysteria, and a swooning lyricism. As for the mystery, we're left to conclude that it can only be explained in terms beyond human understanding. As such, the film is rooted in a tradition of sci-fi and horror cinema, depicting the school as a privileged elite, gradually contaminated and destroyed from within by its inability to understand the mystery which confronts it. But in the final count, nothing is satisfactorily resolved because tensions remain unexplored. while the atmospherically beautiful images merely entice and divert. The result is little more than a discreetly artistic horror film." (Chris Petit)
Sixty in September: 33/60
Primordial rock draws souls into sorcerous web and perhaps frees them. The cyclopean stones and the bare feet of girls and women undoing the ways of the world. Full (how I love it) of mysteries it never bothers to answer nor even tries to answer. I love its delirious double exposures or overlays. And its dim intimations that girls' love for each other is either an unheard of mystical freedom or the curse of death, depending on who's looking. And how the film is that looking and desperation to decide and explain and categorize and contain and the film smiles mockingly at the looking.
I know now, she's a Botticelli angel! And with no corsets or…
Mysterious, eerie, atmospheric, and chock full of sexual undertones--I just wish it were 30 minutes shorter. I was impressed at just how much subtle (and not-so-subtle) homoeroticism they managed to sneak in, and I wonder if any of that relates to the Australian queer activism of the early '70s.
In any case, this felt like a mood piece more than an engaging movie to me, but it does what it does quite well.
This seemed like maybe it was about the leap that women were going to have to take to escape the confined moral and intellectual world of the Victorian 19th century to become the empowered* women of the 20th and 21st. The teacher that follows the girls up the rock was the one who insisted on the scientific age of the rock (millions of years) rather than the presumed age based on the Bible (thousands of years). It's such a mystery, though, that any guess about what it means will probably always remain a mystery.
Peter Weir and his Cinematographer Russell Boyd create fantastic images. With this and Witness, Peter Weir seems to be doing something similar to what Terrence Malick was doing in Days of Heaven, but to me Weir does it better.
*empowered relative to the 1800s of course
Need a second viewing before I give an official rating for this film. Very grandiose in its material that I feel it needs multiple viewings regardless of what your first impression of it was. An extremely intriguing film directed by Peter Wier at the very least.
I can see why people like this film. And on a certain level I can appreciate it, too. But maybe this is crass, but I do prefer a bit more resolution than is provided here. Tantalizing details are provided that hint at a larger, mindblowing something--but all they do is hint.
This reminds me a lot of Last Year At Marienbad, both in pacing and ambiguity (not necessarily with the cinematography or time sequencing), and that is one of my favorite films of all time. I'll have to give this another go sometime and see if I can get it to connect.
um sonho dentro de outro sonho™
Lush and stuffy.
Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of the most enigmatic films I've had the pleasure of watching recently. It starts off so innocently. A group of girls going on a school field trip with their college to Hanging Rock. On a picnic nonetheless. The dreamy atmosphere allows the girls to get disappear without a fuss. You're questioning everything and this film doesn't give up answers easily.
I'm only 4minutes into this and I already want to kill myself.
Miranda: "Everything begins and ends at the exact right time and place."
Nope. This should have ended as soon as it started. Terrible. Terrible. Terrible.
A character wears red at some point, so the movie is about sex.
I don't think I understood this movie.
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