Cadabra-abra : Picnic at Hanging Rock
A film by Peter Weir
Picnic at Hanging Rock, Peter Weir, Australia, 1975, 110’
One of the most mysterious, fascinating, perverse, beautiful and enigmatic films in the history of cinema. One of those unforgettable experiences, which means that if you’ve still not seen it (and on the big screen!), you must. Later, they will say that David Lynch is strange. And it’s true that he is. But so is Peter Weir. Later they will say that Sofia Coppola discovered the secrets of adolescence, death and sexuality in The Virgin Suicides (1999). And that might also be true, but the North American director always cites this Australian film as a direct reference.
The year is 1900, and it’s Valentine’s Day. A group of teenage girls studying in the strict Victorian college in Appleyard, South Australia, are hiking to Hanging Rock, a volcanic rock formation. This is when the ritual is activated, when the heat, nature and the mysterious rock seem to possess the spirit and the bodies of the young women; when time and space are transformed, when the magic and the oneiric take over the narrative, when the film becomes a treatise on sensory and atmospheric cinema.
Youth, maturity, sexuality, culture, repression, nature and freedom under a rocky mountain. And all of this accompanied by a soundtrack full of contrasts and unforgettable cinematography that won a BAFTA award for Russell Boyd.