Archive for October 20th, 2010

(Peter Weir, 1975)

(essay by Troy)

Peter Weir’s Picnic At Hanging Rock opens with a shot of the 500-foot tall volcanic Hanging Rock, fog slowly lifting from its base, appearing like an alien monolith rising out of the earth.  Taking place on Valentine’s Day circa 1900, we are soon introduced to the students of Mrs. Appleyard’s School for Girls in soft-focus golden hues, idealized visions of Victorian age femininity and beauty, shown amidst Zamfir’s ethereal pan flute and whispered poems.  One of these girls is the beautiful Miranda, full of gloomy portent and as she ominously tells her roommate Sara that she’ll “not be around long” and that “”everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place.”  These opening shots contrast the harsh exteriors of the Rock with the glowing innocence of the girls, providing us with the image of Miranda as the perfection of femininity (a teacher of hers likens her to a “Botticelli Angel”), almost otherworldly in the way she carries herself and seems to have an understanding of what lies ahead.


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