Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Picnic at Hanging Rock
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…
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!
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…
"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…
I've had this one on my radar for a loooong ass time. The plot was always interesting to me (schoolgirls go missing at a mysterious natural location) but the combination of it being hard to find and my crippling laziness always came in tween me and the film
I finally watched Picnic at Hanging Rock tonight and while it wasn't everything I hoped it would be as a whole, it still turned out to be as mysterious as I expected.
The plot, like I mentioned above, centers around a group of young women from the Appleyard College who take a much anticipated field trip to a natural…
L'Avventura in the Outback, all sweltering repression that bursts from the edges and suggests that the only ways to deal with it in such a society is to be halfway institutionalized or to vanish off the face of the Earth altogether.
"What we are and what we seem is but a dream. A dream within a dream."
Peter Weir's breakout hit is one of my very favorites: a gorgeous watercolor of longing, heartbreak and mystery that marries its chilling score with its ethereal hidden themes. And what a fucking creepy (yet masterful) marriage it is.
Not sure why this is a horror movie. The movie mainly focuses on a disappearance and the reaction it causes admits a strange blend of sexual hysteria. Nonetheless the idea that this is a horror movie, or creepy in any way escapes me. People go missing in the first 10 minutes and the rest are people freaking out to which it just ends.
I really enjoyed the haunting tone of the first part of the film. Drenched in anticipation, the forgone conclusion and the air of mystery connected to the disappearance become more and more tantalizing.
During the aftermath, my interest began to wane slightly, as I found the movie becoming increasingly hit & miss tonally (for example, I wasn't enamored of the gym freakout scene).
Don't get me wrong though, I think this movie is essential viewing for both visual and thematic reasons and even though it didn't quite click completely for me on my first viewing, I am already looking forward to revisiting it in the not too distant future.
"What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream."
Peter Wier's Picnic at Hanging Rock unfolds like an eternal mystery. It offers no easy answers or clarifications in the puzzling questions it evokes. Yet it is this very reason why the film is such a provocative and timeless enigma.
The story is an adaption of the infamous novel by Joan Lindsay. The film revolves around a bunch of college girls' living in a private school adventuring to the mysterious hanging rock for a picnic. Soon enough mystery and hysteria break loose as three of the girls vanish without any sort of logical explanation. That is a brief synopsis for a film that eludes…
Such a weird film.
Peter Weir explores ideas of time, beauty, fatalism, and a raft of other themes, superficial and/or deeply buried in his 1975 masterpiece.
On the surface it's the story of an ill-fated outing for students from a very proper girl's school. While visiting the titular volcanic outcropping three of the girls and one of their teachers disappear without a trace after splitting off from the group to explore the rock. Ripples from the event result in several other mishaps and strange occurances for those left trying to sort things out.
The story, which takes place in 1900, indulges in the slate cleaning fervor that millennial years tend to invoke. Added to that is the inescapability of time,…
“What we see or what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream.”
The white dresses. The hot, dry sun that envelops everything in a lazy day-dreaminess. The stuffy Victorian sensibilities that wrap these girls up in corsets and stockings, but which make the wilderness a place for bare-footed release. The soundscape of ominous rumblings of the stone, of the crickets and birds, that forever spell out unease. The music, pan pipes so hauntingly sweet they carry the weight of innocent sighs. The diffuse golden light that plays over the crowd of girls arranged about the grasses, crumbs of forgotten cake borne away by pragmatic ants. The iron will of the headmistress, whose power is wound up…
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