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What's So Great About "Picnic At Hanging Rock"?

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What's So Great About "Picnic At Hanging Rock"?

Old 06-28-00, 02:24 AM
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Rather than continue this in the "Carnival of Souls" thread, I thought I would start this thread. I just watched Picnic at Hanging Rock -- TCM broadcast the Criterion Director's Cut of the movie Monday night. I agree that it was slow paced, and that the camera shots were stylish and beautiful. It certainly did not hurt that the actress who played Miranda was a pretty girl.

But that aside, what was so great about this movie? Was everyone raving because, at last, here was an Australian film that didn't suck? I did not find it particularly creepy or eerie. We just kept waiting through the slow-moving picture for some indication that something unusual had happened. Ultimately, it was about a couple of girls that went up a rock and disappeared. No reason, nothing unusual, nothing creepy. And there were a series of disconnected events and stories that happened without giving any momentum to the story.

So, again, let me ask: Why was this movie supposedly so great?
Old 06-28-00, 03:47 AM
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If was an okay film, but I was not ready to run out and buy it after viewing it. Little to slow and dry for my liking. The camera work was very good though and I think that is were most of the praise comes from.

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Old 06-28-00, 11:04 AM
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A slow movie is a movie that takes a long time to get to where it is going. Picnic goes nowhere. Nothing happenes. The movie is about nothing. I found it boring and pointless.

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Old 06-28-00, 01:18 PM
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dammit, i forgot to tape it on monday on TCM. does anyone know if they are going to show it again & when?
Old 06-28-00, 02:38 PM
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I think this is a good movie, I actually like it a lot. The visuals and music go together pretty well. It's not as creepy/scary as some people say it is though.
There are a lot of slow moments and I can see why it bores people.

I think Biodome was a good movie also, so what do I know.
Old 06-28-00, 03:11 PM
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I've seen this movie twice in big theaters and while it's beautiful and has some interesting moments, I bored me to tears. I really wanted to like it, but just didn't.
Old 06-28-00, 03:13 PM
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Thanks folks. I'm now glad that I didn't stay up until 1:00 AM watching it....
Old 06-28-00, 04:19 PM
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quote:<HR>Originally posted by brianluvdvd:
dammit, i forgot to tape it on monday on TCM. does anyone know if they are going to show it again & when?<HR>


Brian --

I'll check the TIVO database tonight to see. BTW, the version that was broadcast was the Criterion version (Director's Cut).
Old 06-28-00, 10:37 PM
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I personally love this film for many reasons, so the only thing I will say is, "It's not for everyone."

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Old 06-29-00, 04:33 AM
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The film is a visual joy, but its pacing is quite slow, and it isn't even all that long. The movie has gotten so much praise basically for its camerawork. It's also one of those "less is more" films, the actuality of what happened being shielded from the audience (and the other characters). Also, there is a rumor surrounding the film that it was based on a true story. While it is entirely fictional, one can see how that kind of falsehood could perpetuate talk about the film. The beautiful, haunting cinematography make this a film that is widely studied in film schools. It's not a film for anyone who gets their kicks out of films like, say, Armageddon, but for those who can appreciate it, it's an interesting movie. I should point out that the Director's Cut that is shown on TCM and is on the Criterion DVD is about 7 or 8 minutes SHORTER than the theatrical version. Director's Cut, in this case, doesn't mean that you get more footage. I've seen the original version, and the shorter edition, as you can see, doesn't do much to move the film along. I, for one, kinda liked "Picnic at Hanging Rock."
Old 06-29-00, 06:43 AM
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quote:<HR>Originally posted by brianluvdvd:
dammit, i forgot to tape it on monday on TCM. does anyone know if they are going to show it again & when?<HR>


OK, it's being rebroadcast on the Independent Film Channel (IFRC1) at 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time Saturday, 7/1.

BTW, several channels are broadcasting a few Criterions on TV this weekend, such as "Nights of Cabiria" on Saturday and "And God Created Woman" on Monday.
Old 06-29-00, 08:36 PM
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Hoc, i don't get IFC on my cable system but thaks for checking. went & saw me, myself, & irene on monday & just totally forgot about taping Hanging Rock. i will try to catch it next time. TCM does not look like they will be showing it again in the near future. i checked one of my cable guides & it is not listed for July. oh well....
Old 06-29-00, 09:35 PM
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It's one of my favorite films: beautiful photography, strong acting, haunting score.
For those of you who like the film, what do you think happened to the girls? I always had the feeling that they were somehow caught in another dimension.

I read somewhere that the author had written a conclusion to be published after her death. Her ending was rather interesting: the girls turn into small lizard-like creatures and disappear into the cracks of Hanging Rock.
Old 07-01-00, 07:25 PM
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LiquidSky: (SPOILERS) After watching the movie a few weeks ago, I did a bunch of online research. No one has discovered anything of value in the film to prove exactly what happened. However:

1) Many viewers note the strong sexual undertones to the whole movie, and suggest that the event which claimed the two girls was some kind of sexual epiphany. Evidence includes 1) the girls taking off their shoes and stockings before entering the rocks; 2) the rather phallic shapes of some of the rocks; 3) the fact that the girl who was found was missing some clothing, and that the woman who disappeared was seen running into the rocks without a skirt; and 4) the fact that when we last see the girl who is discovered in the rocks (when she's leaving the school on a trip to Europe), she's dressed in all red and looks more like a woman.

2) One reader of the novel on which this movie was based believes the girls fell into some kind of time warp. The only evidence offered is that right before the girls disappear in the rocks, the novel describes them hearing some drum beat coming from the people down below - and when everyone else goes looking for them, they beat a drum to attract the missing girls' attention. Pretty flimsy to me, but for what it's worth...

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Old 07-01-00, 11:52 PM
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Just finished watching the movie on IFC.

Not sure if it's worth being in my collection, but I enjoyed it. Very beautifully filmed.

It is a little creepy (but not in the horror-type way).

I agree with sfsdfd, that the points he mentions seems to indicate that something of a sexual nature was related to the disappearances (whether it be molestation or otherwise).

Old 07-02-00, 06:13 PM
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It's on right now on IFC....
Old 07-03-00, 10:40 PM
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sfsdfd,

I thought they were exposed to some kind of gas as they kept going further on. Its been awhile since I watched it. But thats what I thought when I watched it.
Old 07-05-00, 04:49 PM
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I hadn't really decided how I felt about this movie yet until I read the posts in this forum. Then I realized something. I really hated this movie.

You guys are posting theories about what happened to the lost girls and I'm thinking "Who cares?"

I think I may have enjoyed the subplot about the girl who writes poetry and ends up jumping out the window better than the stuff about the missing girls.

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Old 07-05-00, 07:26 PM
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quote:<HR>Originally posted by evenswr:
I hadn't really decided how I felt about this movie yet until I read the posts in this forum. Then I realized something. I really hated this movie.

You guys are posting theories about what happened to the lost girls and I'm thinking "Who cares?"

I think I may have enjoyed the subplot about the girl who writes poetry and ends up jumping out the window better than the stuff about the missing girls.
<HR>



Thank you. The idea that anyone would 'speculate' as to what happened to the girls is ridiculous. Nothing happened because the film didn't do anything with the idea that something could have happened. Think about it. Are any of the ideas suggested here actually meaningful? Does it matter what happened? It's like the modern art joke with the artist expounding on the meaningfulness of the empty canvas. Sometimes very surreal and ambiguous art can have great meaning. Sometimes a blank canvas is blank because of a dearth of ideas. The notion that the original author said that the girls turned into little lizards (!?!?) sounds like a joke. Why would anyone think that that's what "happened"? And why would that mean anything? This movie is terrible and completely unintelligent.

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Old 07-05-00, 09:30 PM
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Buskerdog....the idea that an individual would waste his time reading posts about a film he thinks is terrible and completely unintelligent is ridiculous.
Old 07-05-00, 09:52 PM
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LiquidSky: Heh

Buskerdog: The theories I posted weren't mine. Imho, people who concoct theories about what happened to the girls are wasting their time and missed the whole point of the movie - and so did you!

The purpose of the movie was NOT to goad the viewers to find the "real" explanation, but to capture on film the human fascination with mystery. Don't you wonder who killed JonBenet or the Lindbergh (sp) baby? Or who killed Kennedy? When confronted with facts that don't add up, we humans struggle to find an answer - and the longer a solution eludes us, the stronger our searching becomes.

You claim the movie went nowhere. I reply that the movie indeed went places; it just didn't give you the Hollywood payoff you expected, but left you feeling unsatisfied and stumped - which was its purpose. Where you claim the movie was unintelligent, I suggest it was intentionally unintelligible.

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Old 07-06-00, 04:44 PM
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Let us agree... to disagree! I wasn't saying that they were your theories, just that they were somebody's and that they were silly. And while I think that your read on the film is better than the "what happened to the gosh darn girls?" read I don't think it is supported by the film. Of course I have wondered about Jon Benet-style mysteries. There are films that explore the intangibility of the truth beautifully (Rashomon, of course, and The Sweet Hereafter (my review) are two that jump immediately to mind) but, for me, Picnic isn't one of them. I flt that it didn't really pose the questions that you have brought with you and wasn't actually about them. For me, it was about nothing. And a "Hollywood" ending is the furthest thing from my mind. There is, however, a big difference between an ending that is ambiguous because it lets your imagination draw final conclusions and an ending that is ambiguous because it simply contains no information and means nothing, as is the case in this ridiculous film.

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[This message has been edited by buskerdog (edited July 06, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by buskerdog (edited July 06, 2000).]
Old 07-07-00, 12:58 PM
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Buskerdog....we will just have to disagree on this one. While reviewing your DVD list, I noticed a number of films we do have in common: Carnival of Souls, Fight Club, Mystery Train (one of my all time favorites), Nosferatu (1979), Passion Fish (another favorite) and Velvet Goldmine.
Old 07-07-00, 03:48 PM
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I saw this film in my early 20's in the late 80's and didn't find it to be stimulating in any shape or form. Maybe If I looked at it now I would find something to like but who knows.

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Old 07-07-00, 04:47 PM
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You guys both liked Money Train with Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson? Yuck!

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