Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
Director: Peter Weir
Cast: Rachel Roberts, Helen Morse, Anne-Louise Lambert, Karen Robson, Jacki Weaver
A geometrically austere building houses a school with rigid rules, unflagging discipline and an oppressive atmosphere of obedience. In juxtaposition the school is surrounded by a rural landscape in full bloom with its lively microcosm of insects and birds in constant motion. Surrounded by both environments is a class of students suffocating under the tight long uniforms they must wear in the middle of the scorching afternoon. A handful of girls acting on their youth and femininity, experiencing their first romantic stirrings and dressed in white dresses symbolic of their innocence and virgility. Three of these girls go on a walk. They are never to return.
Following the call of the paganistic creation around them and deciphering their new bodily sensations, they succumb to their surroundings leaving behind all that can’t be suppressed inside. In his second feature film, Weir tells the story of these girls’ walk to freedom achieved by the mystical synergy of the bodies touching the earth and breathing the surrounding air. It is a declaration of independence from the emasculating society of civilised people, the prohibitions of a world set against primal instincts.
Using a poetic approach, which diminishes the need for a more traditional one, the Australian director of “The Truman Show” draws the viewer into a dreamy and at times atemporal narrative vortex urging him to experience the film on an allegorical plane. For only then the events at the rock will cease to be inexplicable and will instead take on the form of a marvelous mystery: an indiscernible to logic passage which brings man close to his eternal and wise nature. Loukas Katsikas
In collaboration with the Australian Embassy and the “Sti Skia Ton Vrahon” Festival.