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…
"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…
I've been meaning to (re)watch Picnic At Hanging Rock for some time. I had last watched it at some stage in my very early teens so I knew it needed a proper viewing. This year, with my undertaking to watch as much Ozploitation and Aussie New Wave as possible, seemed the right time to do so, and with compiling a list of Folk Horror yesterday evening - a category this film could ostensibly fit into - it felt right to watch it now. Also of course the film is set on St Valentine's Day, 1900, and this being 16th Feb, there really was no time like the present.
I must take the time to admit that whilst I am on…
Joan Lindsay trusts her audience enough to let them play detective, and loves them enough not to solve the case for them. Possibly the best story I've never read, and handled admirably by Weir, who has - with one film (Truman notwithstanding) - given Roeg a run for his money as the cinematic Wizard of Oz.
On a drowsy St. Valentine's Day in 1900, a party of girls from a strict boarding school in Australia goes on a day's outing to Hanging Rock, a geological outcropping not far from their school. Three of the girls and one of their teachers disappear into thin air. One of them is found a week or so later, but can remember almost nothing. The others are never found.
On this foundation, Peter Weir's "Picnic at Hanging Rock" (1975) constructs a film of haunting mystery and buried sexual hysteria. It also employs two of the hallmarks of modern Australian films: beautiful cinematography and stories about the chasm between settlers from Europe and the mysteries of their ancient new home.
No me sorprendería sí Sofia Coppola sacó varias influencias para el manejo y la creación de sus personajes femeninos para su ópera prima The Virgin Suicides de Picnic at Hanging Rock, porque lo que hace Peter Weir se asemeja bastante: demostrar a estas niñas como ninfas prohibidas con un aura de deidad incluida, de cierta lejanía y reclusión del mundo cotidiano, apartadas en un "Edén" clerical y provocando una fascinación en el sexo opuesto de hipnosis, delirio, locura, deseo, sentimientos inciertos.
Por esta, y otras razones como la exploración de la belleza, el inútil sistema burocrático de la seguridad policial y cierta sutileza en denotar un nivel lésbico entre las estudiantes de la escuela, este filme brilla. Además de que…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I don't know that I've ever seen a film that seemed so much about sex without ever actually depicting it or alluding to it as Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Okay. There's one minor allusion. Four girls wander off during the picnic at Hanging Rock in question, and one of them—an annoying dumpy girl named Edith—returns in unaccountable hysterics, while the other three turn up missing. After the doctor examines Edith, he reports that she hasn't been molested.
Of course, the sexual vulnerability of these repressed young women is certainly the elephant in this room. As they climb the strange and ominous rock formations of Hanging Rock, they almost seem alone in the world... but the camera peeps at…
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) - 8
I saw the Director's Cut version, where Peter Weir eliminated around 7 minutes of play from the original theatrical release. I read several opinions from people who deplored such move because they judged it harmful to the original quality of the movie, I don't know if this is why I failed to connect or to feel engaged in the experience... a shame. Shame because in retrospective I realise that "Picnic at Hanging Rock" was one of the most enriching cinematic experiences I ever had, I'll explain why in a bit.
"Picnic at Hanging Rock" reminds me of "Caché" from Michael Haneke and "L'Aventura" from Michelangelo Antonioni, 3 films where we are haunted by…
It doesn't reach at all the heights of the only other movie I can compare it to (Spirit Of The Beehive) but this isn't just incredible to look at (sincerely, greatest times ever for cinematography; from 1974 to 1979) it is also a great example of a genre that, disgracefully, doesn't exist; the "eerie fiction" that binds horror, fantasy and fairy tales in a latent, almost invisible way.
If just for those two incredible things (the visual flair and the dreamlike approach) this becomes essential, even with the "not so strong" narrative (things move forward, yes, but you can feel how nobody cares about the things moving forward here) and the shifts between weak characters.
This is an atmospheric world of strange beauty. That's the air you're gonna breath in this place.
A strange fleeting movie.
For the few times I've seen this film, every time I think it's not as good as the acclaim surrounding it, yet most definitely this time, I came away from it appreciating it more than I ever have.
Only Peter Weir's second feature film, this is, yes, a wonderfully haunting mystery, that all the better for it, is never solved.
I'm not sure if it's intentional, but I think one of the only things that annoyed me was the cliched large girl who's the usual outsider to everyone else but still tags along regardless, you get a scene of her eating while everyone's just resting, and my god, you really feel how annoying she is as she follows…
This is a puzzling film. Picnic at Hanging Rock is an evocative, entrancing experience that defies genre classification and traditional explanation. It might be labeled a horror film, if only for the dread-filled atmosphere and some kind of unseen menace. Yet this is like no other horror film--or any film for that matter. It begins with the students of Appleyard College, an isolated school for girls in Australia. During a routine day trip to Hanging Rock (a mysterious geological formation), a few of the girls and their teacher disappear without a trace. The film is drenched in unknowable mystery and an extreme tension that is not developed in any conventional sense, which gives it a particularly otherworldly feeling.
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