Picnic At Hanging Rock

Picnic At Hanging RockPicnic at Hanging Rock is one of those rare films that is an experience; without major plot and completely lacking in explanations. The movie opens at an all girl's school in Woodend, Victoria on Valentine's Day. Immediately we experience the dichotomy of that romantic holiday and the oppressive atmosphere of the school and Victorian society. This theme of Victorian morality clashing with Nature continues as the girls leave the school to enjoy a picnic at the scenic location known as Hanging Rock. During the excursion several of the students and one teacher go missing; where they went and what happened to them is a mystery that consumes the rest of the film.
Despite the idyllic setting and beautiful cinematography, a growing sense of unease permeates from the film. As the girls begin to explore Hanging Rock the viewer can almost feel the heat of that fateful day. Adding to the uncomfortable sense of foreboding we also spot menacing snakes and poisonous ants populating the area the girls in their delicate white dresses now tread. Even before things go awry every scene feels wrong; there's something amiss with the school and its draconian school mistress, there's something wrong with the girls who almost seem to walk in a dream-like state, and there is most definitely something specious at Hanging Rock.
The film leaves us full of questions, but that was the director's intention. Weir wants us to stop trying to add things up or find possible suspects; instead we are encouraged to slip into a hallucinogenic state like one of the characters themselves. It's an eerie experience, but one worth repeating through multiple viewings...
Picnic At Hanging RockPicnic At Hanging RockPicnic At Hanging RockPicnic At Hanging RockPicnic At Hanging RockPicnic At Hanging Rock, screencaps by me


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