Three students and a school teacher disappear on an excursion to Hanging Rock, in Victoria, on Valentine's Day, 1900. The movie follows those that disappeared, and those that stayed behind, but it delights in the asking of questions, not the answering of them. Even though both the movie and the book it was based on claim to be inspired by real events, the story is completely fictional.Written by
David Carroll <email@example.com>
The movie takes place in February 1900, 11 months before the Australian colonies federated and 11 years before the creation of the Australian Capital Territory within New South Wales. When Mrs Appleyard addresses the gathered pupils to communicate the merciful deliverance of their classmate Irma, the NSW map behind nearby Miss Lumley clearly shows the existence of the ACT (defined in red). See more »
What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream.
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The director's cut deletes several scenes from the original release version:
Irma thanking Albert for finding her and Michael's growing relationship with Irma, climaxing in his demanding to know what happened at the Rock.
a brief sequence inside the church during the memorial service of the girls crying.
Mrs Appleyard removing some of Sarah's belongings at night after her disappearance. There are two very minor additions:
A brief sequence of a photographer getting a picture of the school before being shooed off.
A smoother introduction to the scene where Albert tells Michael of his dream of Sarah, beginning with Michael telling him how he often dreams of the Rock.
I have experienced it several times that people tend to expect "Picnic at Hanging Rock" to unfold like a detective story, while it is not one, in any respect. This movie belongs to another type, to the mystery genre, and possibly stands as the finest example of a film of this kind. The main purpose of such films is to contemplate The Unknown and Peter Weir copes with that excellently. What counts most here is the atmosphere, and the focus is more on hidden emotions than on the pacing (some say that the problem with "Picnic" is that it's boring - i don't think so but I guess it depends much on your sensitivity and approach). Most fascinating thing here is possibly the way the Rock is depicted - it appears as self-conscious entity, alive in a sense which is beyond Western logic. This, I think, is the key aspect of the story, because what it really is about is the conflict between the Culture and the Nature. And don't let this put you off as 'too philosophical'. Picnic at Hanging Rock, while not being a crime story, can be involving as one - if you help this to happen, of course. If you do, you might have a lot to think about when the credits start to roll. It can happen, though, that you will be dying to see them roll - there are no movies that appeal to all of us. Then, at least, you could enjoy the set design, photography and ancient beauty of wild Australia.
Give it a try. It's worth it. 8/10
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