Saw Picnic at Hanging Rock for the first time

Wow. Gorgeous movie. Incredibly subtle, atmospheric. I suppose the restrained pace of the film borders on tedious in spots, but the overall effect became hypnotic for me.

I wish to pick people’s brains about one aspect of the ending:

When the older fella comes in to tell the head mistress that the orphan girl fell from a window, she (the head mistress) is dressed in mourning. Am I dense, or is this meant to be overtly ambiguous? We’re given the impression that the girl probably killed herself rather than return to foster care, but why would the old lady already be dressed in black? The possibilities I’ve been chewing on are (a) she pushed the girl out the window (a mercy killing of sorts?), (b) she just knew that in her heart the girl would likely do this, or even © the mourning dress was a delayed reaction to the missing girls.

Any thoughts?

I’m hoping all of Peter Weir’s films are this lush and enigmatic; I’ve yet to see any others.

Peter Weir is probably the director whose work I enjoy the most, and Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of his best films. They’re not all as enigmatic as that one, but they are all unique, and most of them are quite good. You might also try The Last Wave, The Year of Living Dangerously, and my personal favorite of his, Fearless. The latter is one of my favorite films ever made, perhaps the favorite.

As to your spoiler question, I’d say the most likely answer is ©, but I also think it’s deliberately ambiguous in the regard, as so much of that film is.

Thanks for the recs.!

This current flick based on the Patrick O’Brian novels is Weir’s too, yes?

Yes… Master and Commander is also a Peter Weir movie, though I’m ashamed to say I haven’t yet seen it. The night I wanted to see that, my wife was bound and determined to see The Last Samurai. :rolleyes:

Hmmmm, it’s been a while since I’ve seen "Hanging Rock,’ but didn’t the headmistress have some unspoken grudge against the orphan girl? Throughout the story, she singles the orphan out for cruel punishments and her irrational dislike of the girl only grows worse after the mysterious disappearance of the girls. I think the headmistress went over the edge and pushed the girl out the window, which would explain the mourning clothes.

Just my personal interpretation (the movie does lend itself to that!), but I always assumed it was a vaguely homophobic reaction by the headmistress; she had (for that time) inexplicable “carnal thoughts” about the girl, couldn’t deal with them, and blamed the girl herself for “causing” the thoughts. It would fit in with the subtext of the film - the “mystery” of women’s sexuality (the adolescent girls rip off their ‘drawers’ and disappear after passing through a phallic-shaped rock opening, etc.)

BTW, Cecil did a column on “Picnic at Hanging Rock.” The search engine for column archives is running a bit slow, but when my computer finally drags it up, i’ll post the url.

Eh, I’ll revive this Zombie…

Watching this for the second time, right now, on TCM.

I remember the first time, many years ago, left me with a strange feeling. Wanted to see it again.

Nice photography. Couldn’t get my kid interested, even with the promise of scantily clad teen-aged girls…

Love this movie. I watched again today, also.
I hate that headmistress. She’s my ideal of a villianess.
It’s almost like in the beginning when she’s warning them of the dangers, she’s willing it to happen.

You and your ‘time change’, Rebecca! :shakes fist:

I just have to be first. Sorry.

So, how does it end? :wink:

Definitely a film that made a serious impression on me when I saw it years ago. Atmospheric and very definitely with an ambiguous ending.

I will also recommend The Last Wave. Very much in the same vein.

The Year of Living Dangerously is another one I recall making a strong impression on me when I saw it but that was years ago. Curious how it holds up.

Dead Poets and Truman Show are good but get a bit schmaltzy for my taste.

Master and Commander is one of my favorite films of all time.

Not as good as I remember…

Very beautiful, but painfully boring. Fell asleep…,

Aw, man you missed the best part.

I always do. :frowning:

I did get to hear the narrator say, ‘Spazmodicly’.

So, that’s something…

You mean the false promises? One of the things I recall from the movie (seen once, maybe 20 years ago) was everyone in full billowy white dresses.
BTW, looks like this movie didn’t avoid reboot mania.

I saw PAHR in high school and still remember its vaguely nightmarish, unsettling tone more than anything else.

Master and Commander is terrific (far better than The Last Samurai IMHO), and I hope you’ve seen it by now!