Apr 11, 2011

17th April 2011; Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock

Picnic at Hanging Rock
A film by Peter Weir
Year: 1975
Country : Australia
Run time:115 minutes
English with English subtitles
17th April 2011; 5.45pm
Perks Mini Theater

On a drowsy St. Valentine's Day in 1900, a party of girls from a strict boarding school in Australia goes on a day's outing to Hanging Rock, a geological outcropping not far from their school. Three of the girls and one of their teachers disappear into thin air. One of them is found a week or so later, but can remember almost nothing. The others are never found.
On this foundation, Peter Weir's "Picnic at Hanging Rock" (1975) constructs a film of haunting mystery and buried sexual hysteria. It also employs two of the hallmarks of modern Australian films: beautiful cinematography and stories about the chasm between settlers from Europe and the mysteries of their ancient new home.
The movie is based on a 1967 novel by Joan Lindsay, then 71, who presented it as fiction but hinted that it might be based on fact. A cottage industry grew up in Australia about the novel and the movie; old newspapers and other records were searched without success for reports of disappearing schoolgirls.
Did the girls disappear into another time line? Were they raped by two teenage boys who were also on Hanging Rock that day? Did they simply fall into a crevice? What about the girl who was found alive a week later?

"We worked very hard,'' Weir told an interviewer for Sight & Sound, "at creating an hallucinatory, mesmeric rhythm, so that you lost awareness of facts, you stopped adding things up, and got into this enclosed atmosphere. I did everything in my power to hypnotize the audience away from the possibility of solutions.''
Visually it probably is one of the most beautiful picture ever seen, with Australian flora and fauna and wonderful blue skies. Everything has been carefully re-created with loving exactitude.
(Sorce : Internet )

Peter Weir

Peter Weir helped to define the rebirth of Australian cinema, while addressing some of the most pressing concerns of the nation in the 1970s and 1980s. His intriguing images of Australia, evocative and transcendent, made an impact in the international art house scene, eager for compelling visions of geo-political areas and cultures overlooked by mainstream cinema. After achieving international recognition as an emblematic Australian filmmaker, Weir made his transition to Hollywood while maintaining a sense of experimentation and artistic exploration. His films, including his Hollywood ones, cannot be pigeonholed in terms of themes, genres or geographical locals; but they do display an approach to filmmaking, a sensibility, a drive, that amount to one of the most searching trajectories in contemporary cinema.

Weir was born in Sydney. attended The Scots College and Vaucluse Boys' High School before studying art and law at the University of Sydney. His interest in film was sparked by his meeting with fellow students, including Phillip Noyce and the future members of the Sydney filmmaking collective Ubu Films.After leaving university in the mid-1960s he joined Sydney television station ATN-7.Weir then took up a position with the Commonwealth Film Unit (later renamed Film Australia), for which he made several documentaries.After leaving the CFU, Weir made his first major independent film, the short feature Homesdale (1971), an offbeat black omedy.Weir's first full-length feature film was the underground cult classic, The Cars That Ate Paris (1975), a low-budget black comedy about the inhabitants of a small country town who deliberately cause fatal car crashes and live off the proceeds.

Weir's major breakthrough in Australia and internationally was the lush, atmospheric period mystery Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), made with substantial backing from the state-funded South Australian Film Corporation and filmed on location in South Australia and rural Victoria. Weir's next film, The Last Wave (1977) was a supernatural thriller.Between The Last Wave and his next feature, Weir wrote and directed the offbeat low-budget telemovie The Plumber (1979).Weir scored a major Australian hit and further international praise with his next film Gallipoli (1981). Gallipoli was instrumental in making Mel Gibson (Mad Max) into a major star.The climax of Weir's early career was the $6 million multi-national production The Year of Living Dangerously (1983).On 14 June 1982, Weir was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service to the film industry.

Weir's first American film was the successful thriller Witness (1985),It was followed by the darker, less commercial The Mosquito Coast (1986), Paul Schrader's adaptation of Paul Theroux's novel. Weir's next film, Dead Poets Society (1989) was a major international success. Next came Green Card and Fearless. After five years, Weir returned to direct his biggest success to date,The Truman Show (1998), a bittersweet fantasy-satire of the media's control of life. In 2003 Weir returned to period drama with Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe. Weir wrote and directed ‘The Way Back’ which was released in late 2010.
(From Wikipedia)


Anonymous said...

Just a wee correction: the novel was written by author Joan Lindsay, not Leslie. You've put together a nice overview.

Konangal - Phone: 9790457568 said...

Thanks for pointing out the error in
author's name.