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Picnic at Hanging Rock Movie Review

weir lambert helen anne

1975's Picnic at Hanging Rock, Peter Weir's exquisitely lensed Australian film, is something of a cautionary tale about the conflict between nature and civilization. Three girls and their teacher persist in imposing themselves on a threatening landscape about which they know nothing except its age. They fail, and the one girl who does return can't remember why. Even before they leave the picnic, their attachments to the others are loose, and they are riddled with a sense of their own mortality. Unlike most contemporary treatments of the past which thrust current sensibilities on an earlier time, Weir's international classic reveals Valentine's Day 1900 on its own terms, with the exception of one new twist on the old chestnut of separated twins. The sweet-voiced Helen Morse perfectly illustrates the interior strength and surface gentleness that survived best in that era. The faces, especially the hauntingly lovely Anne Lambert, are straight out of an old photograph album and the dialogue betrays no ironic premonitions of how the new century will disrupt the Victorian world. Based on a novel by Joan Lindsay, who never revealed whether her chiller was inspired by a true story—or not!

1975 (PG) 110m/C AU Margaret Nelson, Rachel Roberts, Dominic Guard, Helen Morse, Jacki Weaver, Vivean Gray, Anne Lambert; D: Peter Weir; W: Clifford Green; C: John Seale; M: Bruce Smeaton. VHS, Closed Caption, DVD

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