Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Picnic at Hanging Rock

So, I recently watched this brilliant film from Australia. It was brought to my attention by Sam Milazzo, an e-mail friend of mine from Maroubra, Australia.

The film centers around the mystery of the disappearance of three schoolgirls and a teacher on Hanging Rock, or Mount Diogenes. After the dissappearance, which happens about thirty minutes into this two-hour spellbinder, the film continues to deal with the students and staff at the college, as well as the local townspeople who are affected by the dissappearance of the girls and the teacher.

The film's slow pace for once works in it's favor, creating a bewitching viewing experience. It is even more highlighted by the beauty of Australia, and the beauty and terror of Hanging Rock itself.

We are never told in the film what became of the missing people, although one of the girls is recovered.

One wonderful thing about this film is how differently it can be interpreted. Is it an actual tale, or an allegory? And if it is, what does it mean?

One interpretation could be drawn from one of the lines in the opening scenes, spoken to the orphan Sara by the bewitching Miranda (who is one of the girls who disappears), "You must learn to love someone else apart from me, Sara. I won't be here much longer."

It could be seen as an allegory on growing up. Miranda could be seen as Sara's best childhood friend who walks out of her life, warning Sara that it will happen. Maybe the vanishing represents death or a loss of contact. Despite these warnings, Sara doesn't adjust and the loss of Miranda hits her hard.

In this case, headmistress Mrs. Appleyard is similar, except she frivously tries to follow the missing people and meets her own death because of it.

Thus, we see that "Picnic at Hanging Rock" is a multi-layered alloegory: there is no one meaning to it.

Definitely a classic.

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