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Three students and a school teacher disappear on an excursion to Hanging Rock, in Victoria, on Valentine's Day, 1900. Widely (and incorrectly) regarded as being based on a true story, the movie follows those that disappeared, and those that stayed behind, but it delights in the asking of questions, not the answering of them. Written by
David Carroll <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The opening lines spoken by Miranda, "What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream" are a paraphrase of lines from the poem A Dream within a Dream, by Edgar Allan Poe. The lines appear as the last two lines of each of the two verses of the poem, with a slight rearrangement in the wording. See more »
Modern foundation garments are seen quite clearly through the girls white shirts in many places when the camera trails behind them as the move about the rock. See more »
What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream.
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This is mesmerizing film with a cipher at its center. Less is more. I am amused at some of the comments. There seem to be two types: those which depict the movie as "beautiful, ethereal and subtle" and those which depict the film as "too symbolic, too slow, boring, too 70's."
The point is, there is no point. The central vision of the film is enigma, the void, mystery. This seems to make a lot of explainers uncomfortable, but the use of emptiness at the core of a work of art is nothing new. "The hand that erases writes the true thing" Faulkner's masterpiece "The Sound and the Fury" is about a character who is absent. The characters that surround her, and who actually people the novel? Not all there, lacking, disintegrating, unknown, unwanted, unloved.
If there must be a meaning, it is that nothingness is the biggest threat of all. "I will show you fear in a handful of dust" We fear our disappearance. We'd like to believe that our little lives, our little comments, our little film lists will endure forever. But they won't. Nothing will.
what is existence? a random ever-changing collection of energized particles.
At any point, we can cross the line into nothingness. Nature will subsume us.
The film "A Passage to India" had the same theme. It was NOT essentially a movie about rape or sex scandal. It was about the yawning pitch-black eternal emptiness of the caves. It drove two women mad. Nature as an amoral uncaring unmoveable eternal reality.
Just as Picnic was NOT about repressed Victorian sexuality. These were pretexts, and were utilized because the fear of sex is the fear of letting go. The fear of sexuality leads irrestibly to our main fear: that darkness, emptiness, and the powers of nature will overwhelm us and erase us.
In Picnic, there was no villain, no enemy, no fall guy, no perpetrator, process or predicament that we could blame for the girls' disappearance. They simply disappeared. And that is the scariest nightmare of all.
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