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on 13 May 2011
Picnic at hanging Rock opens on the serenity and excitement of Appleyard College, an all-girls school on St Valentine's day in 1900. As the girls run around, celebrating the day, it is announced that there is to be a trip to hanging rock, a local geological site where millions of years previous, a volcanic eruption formed a very distinctive cluster of rocks, containing many hidden cracks, and passageways to explore. The film is based on the true story of four girls who break away from the titles picnic group to take a closer look at hanging rock. They venture into the labyrinthine rock formations. Only one of the four return, dazed and confused, having no memory of what happened. One of their teachers had earlier gone looking for the foursome and still not returned.

What happens after this is the obvious search and rescue routine. The spread of the story also has an effect on the school, which begins to fail financially, and the head mistress turns to drink. In these searches only one girl is ever found. She also has no memory of what happened. I'm trying not to go into too many details of the narrative itself, as I feel that it is pretty self explanatory from a small synopsis. What is incredible, and distinctive about the film is its visual beauty. This is not to say that the story is not good. It is a story of loss and the effects this has on the people involved and surrounding the incident. Much like the effects that the death of Laura Palmer had on the population of Twin Peaks.

This was Peter Weirs second feature film after the excellent pseudo-exploitation movie The Cars That Ate Paris. It is a piece of cinema that displays great direction, and an ability to work with actors. This is completely founded by Weirs subsequent work. This film also opened him up to American offers, as it was viewed as a prestige picture, more than likely viewed in the same vein as British costume dramas are in Hollywood. It also opened up Australia as a significant contender in the world cinema market.

The opening half of the film, particularly the scenes around the rock have an ethereal quality. This is exacerbated by a sound design that creates an unnerving atmosphere. The various sounds of wind reverberating through rocks, crevices and trees portray an impending sense of doom. The visuals also stunning here complimenting the sound design and incredible musical score. The visuals have a hazy, dream-like quality in these scenes. Cinematographer, Russell Boyd did clearly do a good job, even in the eyes of Weir, as they collaborated on much of his subsequent work.

Two of the four girls and the teacher who went searching for them were never found (and still their disappearance is a mystery). I like this kind of ambiguity. It is a natural element of life, and a narrative form that should be utilised more often. I thoroughly enjoyed the piece, and found its visual beauty illuminating. A great introduction to an impressive filmmaker.

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on 13 May 2009
Prior to owning this release, I purchased the Pathe DVD. The Pathe transfer was good, but hardly jaw-dropping. This release is not only packed with extra features, it also offers two editions of the movie. The original cut is presented here unremastered and seems to be sourced from tape, it's watchable, but the picture is soft and not great. The Director's Cut is fantastic, the transfer is pristine, with excellent detail, colour saturation and super contrast. It's the best i've ever seen the film looking. If you're a fan, you'd be mad not to buy this Second Sight release.
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on 17 March 2013
Picnic at Hanging Rock is my favorite movie since I was a teen.
I am fascinated by the interplay between the images and the music.
The mystical and open end extended the charm that makes the movie.
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on 7 October 2010
This director's cut version deletes several minutes of scenes. This edit undercuts the slow buildup and atmosphere of the film. The visuals and lazy pace are everything to this film.
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on 30 July 2013
A very beautiful film with haunting music - a real classic from a few years ago. Highly recommended to future purchasers.
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on 29 October 2015
Although this purchase was a bit expensive (when compared to current day prices for DVD's) this was worth every centime/penny! Not only the original screening version but included the Director's Cut PLUS all the outtakes, history and technical details, etc.. We shall enjoy this movie with friends for many years to come - it is a classic and in a classical presentation. BUY, BUY!!
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on 3 January 2015
Bought as a present for a friend. A good thriller, with some evocative landscape photography around Ayers Rock in Australia.Based on a true story of schoolgirls who mysteriously went missing on Valentines Day in 1900
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on 14 February 2010
So you are a `Picnic' fan and already have a copy of the Original Version and also the Director's Cut. So you don't need this 3-disc set, right? Wrong.
The long list of Bonus Features (Disc 2) are an absolute must-have.
Of which, the first, `A Dream Within A Dream', is on its own sufficient reason to pay the modest full-set price. About as long as the film proper (!) it is a totally absorbing programme about all aspects of the conception and realisation of the film, involving interviews with all the key players - the director, Peter Weir; the production team; the actors; and the interactions between them.
Not least, a recorded interview with the late Joan Lindsay, author of the novel. The key issues are discussed: that the story remains an unsolved mystery (a problem for some); and, `is it a true story?' and, which Joan herself refused to resolve, the story remains an unsolved mystery.
The unique mood of the film is supported by the director's music choice e.g. 'Au sommet de la colline' as the key pan pipe theme, originating from Romania - although I found no mention of Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto which contributed the gentle and wistful background to much of the latter part of the film, following the girls' disappearance.
A totally compelling programme. To buy it is a no-brainer.
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on 14 August 2009
This film is probably my favorite of all time, from when I first saw it 30 odd years ago. It still has the same impact both visually and aurally, with its mystery still able to send a slight chill down the back. The new boxed set is a wonderful keepsake containing the shortened directors cut, the original theatrical version and a fantastic bonus disk containing a two hour documentary on the making of this magical film, plus lots of features and interviews, giving a fabulous insight into not only of the film, but of the story and Hanging Rock itself. Excellent value for money!
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on 2 July 2008
I am sorry to say this isn't the perfect set I hoped for,The picture
of this 16x9 Directors Cut isn't as good as the Non 16x9 Criterion
version,The extras are the reason to get this set,the Original version
is a star lower in PQ ,but is the only dvd version,the third dvd apears the same as the region 4 dvd ,which was fantastic!!
The Movie gets 5 Stars,this set is 4
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