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Picnic at Hanging Rock

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

Director: Peter Weir
Writers: Joan Lindsay(novel), Cliff Green(screenplay)
Cast: Rachel Roberts, Anne-Louise Lambert, Vivean Gray
Genre: Mystery

Premise: On Valentine's Day 1900, a group of Australian college school girls journey to Hanging Rock for a leisurely picnic in the country. On the rock a mystery happens and 3 girls and a school teacher vanish, seemingly in thin air.

Love it or hate it...Picnic at Hanging Rock is a different type of film. The film is mostly void of story, instead it focuses on people's odd reactions to the mystery of the missing girls.

The film looks great. Not just because it's filmed in a beautiful rural Australian setting but because the director takes such great care with his compositions and lighting. The director often fills the foreground and background with his subjects, which create a great depth of field. It almost looks 3D.

The lighting is beautiful, as much of the scenes are shot in early morning light when the sun's color is a warm golden yellow. To add to the dreamy, ethereal quality the school girls are shot through a diffusion filter on the camera lens. This is really a beautiful film to look at!

But does it work? Not so much for me. I could go along with the feel of the film and I was OK that the film doesn't try to solve the mystery. But it just felt pretentious at times. As if someone said, 'lets write some lofty, metaphoric lines about life's beginning and ending. Then we'll have an ominous music score as the girls disappear.' I swear the chunky girl with glasses is the same character as Piggy in The Lord of The Flies. They act alike, the lines they speak are alike, they seem to serve the same function too.

If you like a beautiful shot film with a different feel, then you might like this.