Directed by: Peter Weir
Countries & Regions: Australia
Studio: Second Sight
Length: 110 mins
Region: Region B
Released: 26 July 2010
Cat No: 2NDBR4004
Hard of Hearing Subtitles: English
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Picnic at Hanging Rock
Also available on DVD
Peter Weir’s atmospheric film is based on actual events which have never been fully explained. On St Valentine’s Day 1900, a group of... Read More
According to Loraine Mafi Williams, an Aboriginal shaman, "There are places all over Australia to avoid. These we call "Sacred Sites and they are sacred in the hope that white people will leave them alone…." One of these places to avoid may be Hanging Rock, an imposing natural rock formation about 75 kilometers north of Melbourne. This is the setting for the beautiful 1975 film by Peter Weir, Picnic at Hanging Rock voted No 1 of the Top 10 Australian films of all time in a 1995 centenary of Australian cinema. Using Gheorghe Zamfir’s pan flute and Bruce Smeaton's original score as a background, the film resonates with a sense of the mystical and timeless.
Three girls and a teacher at a rigid Victorian boarding school for teenage girls vanish without a trace during a school excursion to Hanging Rock National Park on St. Valentine's Day in 1900. The film does not concentrate on the investigation into the disappearance but on the psychological ramifications for the survivors. As the girls visit the hidden passages and odd formations, Weir and cinematographer Russell Boyd create an otherworldly atmosphere and a strange sense of foreboding. As they walk, they shed parts of their clothing and, inexplicably move in single file toward the top of the rock as if being controlled by an external force. The mystery remains but the effect of the girl's disappearance is to disrupt the equilibrium of the school and hasten the crumbling of the existing social order. Beyond that it's anyone's guess and this haunting film will definitely keep you guessing long into the night.
On a day trip from their austere private academy to a local beauty spot in the summer of 1900, three schoolgirls and a teacher vanish without trace amidst the dark alcoves of Hanging Rock. After a week, one girl reappears unexpectedly, but has no recollection of the event; attempts to find the others lead to nothing.
Picnic.. stays true to the overriding theme that dominated Australian new wave films: the collision of prim, white society with the unfathomable, unforgiving force of the land, and here Weir effectively channels the strength and mysticism of the natural world through the girls’ burgeoning sexuality. Haunting and sensual, the puzzle of Hanging Rock remains as enigmatic as ever. This definitive package features both the director's cut and the original, longer theatrical version of this masterful film.