Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

Genres - Drama, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Period Film, Psychological Drama, Coming-of-Age  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - Australia  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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The first significant splash made by the Australian New Wave on world cinema, Picnic at Hanging Rock is director Peter Weir's haunting, delicate, and exquisitely photographed tale of three young girls who disappear during a school outing in the year 1900. It hints at what is to come in films like Weir's truly shattering The Last Wave and in coming-of-age films such as Gillian Armstrong's My Brilliant Career - a new look at an exotic country's early days and unique history. Weir was a foremost force in the rebirth of Australian cinema, using period pieces such as this one, combined with heavy atmospherics and a fresh take on colonialism, to promote a kind of mystical super-realism that is evident in most of his films and those of Australian directors who followed him. Weir's refusal to provide a satisfying end to his puzzle of a story is also emblematic of a fresh approach that strays from a rationalized Western viewpoint into more supernatural realms that are linked to the aboriginal culture of the continent.