On a St. Valentine’s Day at the turn of the century, a party of girls from a strict boarding school go on an outing to Hanging Rock, a geological outcropping not far from their school. Part of the group vanish inexplicably.
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Deep in the heart of hanging rock there are impenetrable mysteries; mysteries of unknown pleasures and dangers and understandings not yet discovered by the young women who get lost their. It’s a film of elusiveness and mysticism, with an always out of reach/out of sight truth just beyond the next corner and crag of the rock and of the movie. It’s beautiful and haunting and unknowable.
A melancholic masterpiece, a film that provides us with a harrowing story and juxtaposes it with a beautiful setting, soothing but powerful pan pipe music and an eery, almost dreamlike atmosphere. A sensational picture.
This film has loads more intelligence than it suggests in the first 20 minutes or so. The power in the film comes from all the varied themes hinted at and not necessarily the mystery of what happens to the girls but the effects their disappearance has on the rest of the characters. You may not have any answers at the end, but it remains disturbing as long as you think about it and stays in your consciousness.
The shot at the 25-minute mark, where the upturned camera steadily pans around while the music rises forebodingly, abandoning the girls to drift along branches and sunbeams, only to return and catch them retreating further up the path, is a great example of how powerful the first 3rd is. That the rest ISN'T, that instead, like Edith, it's seen as lesser after the miracle passes, isn't a bug. It's a feature.
It's bad enough the first 4 minutes are the most beautiful, relaxing sequence I care to watch over & over, but there is so much inside of this simply strewn, quiet film. The symbolism and simplicity are what make it truly unique. I can barely breathe during some of these scenes either out of happiness or calm. Pay attention to this.
[Spoilers] A film not so much about disappearance as shrinking; the loss of cosy certainties and the loss of the centrality of people in the universe -in short, our diminution in the cosmos. But how else to explain the uncertainty of the modern age than unresolved disappearance; a void of reason that can be filled only with questions, in other words, the antithesis of finality, and death?
i have about 20 tabs open in my browser relating to this film right now. it's beautifully melancholic. although i find it loses itself in it's second half. it's probably ironic for me to say it lacks focus but i felt it wasn't aware of what makes the mystery so compelling.
Young Australian girls filmed as though for the cover of a contemporaneous British folk album. In a good way. God(s) and the devil(s) are one or more of the same thing(s). If you blink you might miss the third act. Or the epilogue or whatever. That is if blinking can stop also stop you hearing. Mostly you hear it. I like Picnic at Hanging Rock. Legendary light.