29. Picnic at Hanging Rock

I’m going to have a hard time describing Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock. I could tell you about the plot, which involves three teenage girls and one woman vanishing at a mysterious volcanic landform on Valentine’s Day, 1900. I could examine the metaphors of man’s attempts to tame Australia’s wilderness, and the Victorian Era’s attempts to tame the budding sexuality of young women. I could also go on about the film’s obvious influence on The Virgin Suicides. But all I really want to talk about is the atmosphere of the film, the mysterious, mystical aura that hangs over a foreboding undercurrent, like a white flowing dress passing through a harsh secluded landscape. It’s rare to find a film that is so successfully held together by mood alone, or a story that leaves me to ponder unanswered questions without wanting to answer them. Beautiful, haunting, and very recommended.

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