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Diane

Picnic at Hanging Rock

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Three 70s Peter Weir classics will be playing tomorrow night on TCM.  Picnic at Hanging Rock (8pm ET), The Last Wave (10pm ET) and The Cars That Ate Paris (12am). 

 

And after that, Nicholas Roeg's Walkabout


Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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Just caught up with this film last night as I've had Peter Weir's early Australian films on my Criterion Channel list for a while. What a mysterious film. It seems to channel some of those quintessential 1970s movies techniques—superimposition of images, inserts shots of nature, elliptical editing patterns—but it doesn't use them simply to create horror, as say, The Wicker Man does, or to play into any kind of New Age textual elements (although I did get a sense that Ari Aster's Midsommar may have been inspired by this film in some respects). The girls that disappear certainly inhabit the idea of "liberated individuals" within the film, (which would normally be embodied by New Age characters in these sorts of films) but they don't belong to a different world than the others characters here. They're simply the individuals drawn beyond their rigid lives, and they're seemingly swallowed by the landscape because of it.

Repression seems to be a big part of the film's subtext, but I don't think a simple reading of sexual repression/liberation works without also taking into account all the colonial implications of the film's use of geography. Despite there being no Aboriginal characters in the film, I find it impossible not to see Hanging Rock as somewhat emblematic of true Australia here. As well, the upper class English seem so clearly out of place in that specific landscape. It's as if the landscape itself makes the girls disappear in a bid to disrupt the colonial presence and go back to nature.

The whole experience left me with a lot to think about. I look forward to catching up with The Last Wave in the next few days, hopefully.


"Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung fu film." - Werner Herzog

3brothersfilm.com

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Here's the 2017 blurb from the "Waking Up" list. http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?/films/film/460-picnic-at-hanging-rock/

Weir appears to be undergoing a slight come back on these pages with this film on the 2017 Top 25 and Witness making its way back onto the Top 100.

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That's a nice little blurb.

I think Weir is perpetually under-appreciated. I'm always down for more discussion of his work. Hopefully I can knock off the rest of my blindspots of his work in the next few weeks.


"Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung fu film." - Werner Herzog

3brothersfilm.com

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