This landmark in Australian Cinema is certainly amongst my very favourite films. Ordinarily, I would score this film 5 stars, but as another reveiwer points out, key scenes, in my opinion vital to fleshing out the characters and plotlines, have been cut. Oddly, a totally irrelevant and superfluous scene of a reporter photographing the school has been inserted. Several scenes involving Michael, Irma, Albert and Mrs Appleyard have been edited out, and their loss is pointless and certainly diminishes the film as a whole.
My view is one of a languid, sensual dreamlike film, suffused with mystery, focusing on the reactions and feelings of the characters to the tragedy/mystery on the rock. To cut approximately six minutes from the film, is not to add to the mystery surrounding the girls disappearance, but to simply disrupt continuity, and to make scenes and developments seem unconnected and senseless, for example, the cutting of both the crash sound as sarah plummets through the conservatory roof, and the scene of Mrs Appleyard gathering her things together, the viewer could be understandably confused, and not connect the unrecognisable corpe amid the pansies with the vanished Sarah.
I for one will be digging my neglected video of this film out of my loft to watch in preference to this edit-fest of a dvd version.