Twenty years after it swept Australia into the international film spotlight, Peter Weir's stunning 1975 masterpiece remains as ineffable as the unanswerable mystery at its core. A Valentine's Day picnic at an ancient volcanic outcropping turns to disaster for the residents of Mrs. Appleyard's school when a few young girls inexplicably vanish on Hanging Rock. A lyrical, meditative film charged with suppressed longings, Picnic at Hanging Rock is at long last available in a pristine widescreen director's cut with a newly-minted Dolby® digital 5.1 channel soundtrack.
Situated somewhere between supernatural horror and lush Victorian melodrama, director Peter Weir's lyrical, enigmatic masterpiece is an imaginative tease. The setting is a proper turn-of-the century Australian boarding school for girls, a suffocating institution built on strict moral codes, repressed sexuality, and a subtle but enforced class structure. As the film opens, girls draped in immaculate white dress prepare for a picnic at the nearby volcanic formation, Hanging Rock, and Weir hangs an air of dark foreboding over the proceeding. "You'll have to love someone else, because I won't be here very long," says one virginal girl, Miranda, to her friend. Her words are prophetic: during the picnic, Miranda, along with two other girls and an uptight schoolmistress, vanish into the rocks. While a search party repeatedly returns to the rock to look for either the girls or the reasons for their disappearance, Weir leaves the mystery unsolved. Like Antonioni's L'Avventura, the vanishing is open to numerous interpretations--both rational and illusory--but Weir drops enough allegorical clues that it feels like a parable. He transforms the landscape and weather into menacing and eerie images; outlines of faces can be seen in the rocks, while the oppressive heat beating down on the picnic doubles as an atmospheric metaphor for the girls' unbearable social and sexual confinement. These images and other plot twists toward the end hint that this mysterious vanishing, on some level, was actually a form of spiritual escape--the only out, other than death, from the film's bleak, tightly structured community. Regardless of how you see it, though, this hypnotic puzzle remains the highlight of the '70s Australian New Wave. The DVD version presents the film in letterbox form. --Dave McCoySee all Product Description
"Picnic at Hanging Rock" is a beautifully shot movie about the mysterious disappearance of 4 women on a geologically intriguing exposed volcanic plug. Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by K. Gittins
I came to this film fully expecting to like it because of the many glowing reviews I'd read over the years. Read morePublished on July 5 2004 by Rosamond1
so stunning, i first saw this film 6 years ago, and i have not seen a film that has come close!Published on May 16 2004 by sally strawberry
Sorry for my bad english. I'm Italian and I fear that can't explain well my opinion. I try:
For me who see this Peter Weir's film or love it or hate it. Are not a third way. Read more
While I prefer Australian director Peter Weir's nightmarish World War I epic "Gallipoli," "Picnic at Hanging Rock" certainly ranks as one of his best efforts. Read morePublished on Dec 26 2003 by Jeffrey Leach
This really is an amazingly engrossing film given the limited case information that director Peter Weir has to work with. Read morePublished on Dec 1 2003 by OverTheMoon
This brilliant feature film is actually a true story of 4 people getting lost and never being seen again on a school excursion to hanging rock in victoria, Australia on valentines... Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2003 by "barry_202"