Jan 8, 2016

Picnic at Hanging Rock

If there is any cinematic work that can even vaguely be described as a women-in-prison (WiP) flick in terms of themes and motifs that is an unequivocal poetic masterpiece, it is the classic Australian horror-mystery-drama hybrid Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) directed by Peter Weir (Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show), which is ironically more erotic than any of the films that I have ever seen from the sometimes pornographic subgenre, even though it features nil nudity or explicit lesbo action. Of course, the film is far too idiosyncratic, enigmatic, whimsical and cultivated to be labeled a WiP flick, though it should be noted that Weir has experience with exploitation cinema as his debut feature The Cars That Ate Paris (1974) surely demonstrates.  As a cinematic work featuring a group of nubile young girls that are ruled over by a sadistic headmistress at an all-girl college where latent Sapphic tendencies seem to be the norm, Weir's film certainly sounds like it has the basic structure and themes of a WiP trash piece, but it is really a shockingly preternatural motion picture that transcends all genres and viewer expectations in a ridiculously refreshing fashion that reminds one why they love cinema.  While I had been putting off watching the film for at least a decade since I expected it to be terribly banal flowery bullshit that would make Roman Polanski's Tess (1979) seem like Vera Chytilová's Sedmikrásky (1966) aka Daisies by comparison, I recently took the plunge and can proudly say that I absolutely fell in love with the film, if not for at least partially superficial reasons that largely have to do with the almost painfully beauteous blonde quasi-lead portrayed by one-time Fanta spokesgirl Anne-Louise Lambert (The Draughtsman's Contract, Somersault), who absolutely radiates a certain decidedly delectable degree of classic European pulchritude without even having to expose a single tit or pubic hair. While Lambert disappears from the film at about the 35-minute mark, her presence manages to haunt the rest of the film in such a penetrating the fashion that it made me realize that it is the greatest cinematic ghost story without a ghost. Indeed, Picnic at Hanging Rock is a film that wallows in a sort of wholly pure and organic oneiric beauty where it makes it seem as if it is the world's single greatest tragedy when a blonde virginal beauty disappears without a trace during a sunny picnic Hanging Rock, Victoria on Valentine's Day in 1900 (notably and quite intriguingly, while a teacher and two other girls also disappear, the viewer, like most characters in the film, seems only really concerned with Lambert's character's disappearance, thus underscoring her haunting and otherworldly beauty). In other words, the film makes the preposterous commie sociological phrase ‘missing white woman syndrome’ seem like a laughable slave-morality-ridden joke that would only concern resentful untermenschen, as no negro, abo, or mulatto actresses could have made Weir’s masterful flick work as there is no replacing genetic gold in the form of pale porcelain skin and shimmering golden locks.  In other words, Picnic at Hanging Rock is also a rare film that shamelessly celebrates the grand majesty of blonde Nordic beauty.

 Based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Joan Lindsay that the Australian novelist has notably described as writing with great ease while in a sort of trance, the film is a mystery that, like its source material, thankfully concludes in eerie ambiguity and thus demands that the viewer ponder it for eternity, thereupon making for a cinematic work that truly keeps on giving with subsequent viewings. An early key work of the so-called Australian New Wave and arguably Australia’s first international hit film, Picnic at Hanging Rock has proven over the past four decades that it is a timeless work as a result of its ambiguity, more or less seamless structure, exceedingly ethereal essence, and refreshingly unwavering embrace of true Occidental feminine beauty.  Indeed, no one can watch the film without coming to the natural conclusion that Faustian woman is the most beauteous woman in the world.  Additionally, the film is also notable for being a rare period piece that does not seemed contrived, as the viewer truly feels like they have had the voyeuristic delight of encountering a very English late Victorian all-girls college where discipline, manners, and a strong moral compass are a must.  Featuring a totally transcendental realm of perennial intrigue where the Victorian era is sort of metaphysically possessed by an enigmatic foreboding prehistoric presence that can be neither seen or heard but certainly felt, Weir’s film is also arguably about a civilization on the brink of capitulation.  As hinted by the fact that one can see Aborigines faces in the eponymous rock formations, one could argue that the cinematic work is, not unlike Weir's subsequent work The Last Wave (1977), a sort of post-colonial horror-thriller, though that is quite irrelevant to why the film is so great, as no one watches or enjoys it for its socio-political subtext(s) (in fact, the film also features a quasi-Dickensian subplot involving an orphan girl that is ruthlessly persecuted by a sadistic headmistress, but it is not executed in the sort of obnoxiously propagandistic fashion that would one except from a Hollywood movie, but of course the film was directed by an authentic Anglo-Saxon as opposed to a kosher culture-distorter or spiritually castrated white liberal wimp).  Indeed, Picnic at Hanging Rock oftentimes feels the like the last gasps of a people and culture that is about to lose itself and succumb to cultural and social chaos of the decidedly deracinated post-industrial multicultural sort. The film also happens to be arguably the most effortlessly elegant, solacing, and charming ‘horror’ film ever made as an insanely soothing piece of hallucinatory celluloid where the most beautiful of living creatures is sacrificed to something that is literally quite inexplicable.  Featuring an obscenely addictive musical score that ranges from two traditional Romanian panpipe pieces to classical pieces (including Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky) to the British Royal anthem “God Save the Queen,” Picnic at Hanging Rock also thankfully feels completely devoid of the necrotizing taint of modernity. Of course, it should be no surprise that the film was more aesthetically influenced by the paintings of Australian Impressionists like Frederick McCubbin and the photography of David Hamilton than other films.

 Opening with the somewhat misleading prologue that made many viewers think the film was based on total fact, “On Saturday 14th February 1900 a party of schoolgirls from Appleyard College picnicked at Hanging Rock near Mt. Macedon in the state of Victoria. During the afternoon several members of the party disappeared without trace…,” Picnic at Hanging Rock then juxtaposes stunning Victorian landscapes with the female heroine Miranda (Anne-Louise Lambert) quoting Edgar Allan Poe and softly stating, “What we see and what we seem are but a dream—a dream within a dream.” Miranda is a shockingly beautiful college student with a completely complimentary personality who is loved by all her classmates and most of her professors. In other words, she is a natural leader that exudes warmness, beauty, empathy, love, strength, and affection, among other classic virtues. If Miranda is an absolutely magnetic personality that radiates immaculate splendor and pleasantness, Appleyard College’s headmistress, Mrs. Appleyard (Welsh British New Wave diva Rachel Roberts of Karel Reisz's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) and Lindsay Anderson’s This Sporting Life (1963)), is the complete opposite as a cold, callous, craven, and insufferable rotting old cunt who is mean and hateful to everyone, especially the weak and defenseless. Indeed, while Miranda treats her poor classmate with total love and respect, Mrs. Appleyard is totally ruthless with the school’s most emotionally and economically impoverished student Sara (Margaret Nelson), who is an extremely sensitive orphan that seems to have almost latent lesbian feelings for her ravishing blonde friend. Somewhat ironically, by the end of the film, all three women will be gone from this world, but it is only Miranda that seems to realize this, as if she has some sort of sixth sense. 

 At the very beginning of the film, Miranda and her friends spend their St. Valentine's Day morning by reading Valentine’s day cards to one another and helping each other get dressed, with a line of girls simultaneously tightening one another’s corsets while standing in front of a window and basking in the early morning sunlight.  Notably, Sara gives Miranda a card that reads, “Meet me, love, when day is ending.” Rather unfortunately for all involved, Miranda will not get the opportunity to meet Sara at the end of the day. Somewhat strangely, after cherishing her card and declaring how she would love for her to meet her “ sweet, funny family,” Miranda attempts to warn her friend by stating to her in a deadly serious fashion, “You must learn to love someone else apart from me, Sara. I won’t be here much longer,” thereupon eerily foreshadowing the strange events to come. All the girls are excited about the day because they will be spending it at a local geological formation known as Hanging Rock where they plan to have a lavish and intimate pastoral picnic.  Before leaving for the picnic, the girls collectively raise a phallic-like St. Valentine figure in the air in a quasi-ritualistic fashion, as if it will give them good luck in their quest for love. In an apt demonstration of her keen and calculating cruelty, Mrs. Appleyard allows every single girl attend the picnic, except poor orphan Sara, who she attempts to force to memorize and recite poetry. While Mrs. Appleyard warns the girls before they leave to not engage in “tomboy foolishness,” Miranda and her best friends ultimately fail to take heed of this seemingly petty warning, thereupon somewhat ironically resulting in their eventful downfall. When Sara attempts to recite her own poem that she has written in tribute to Valentine's Day, Mrs. Appleyard immediately cuts her off and impulsively discounts her poetic prowess. While riding in a carriage on the way to Hanging Rock, a mathematics mistress named Miss Greta McCraw (Vivean Gray) notes that the rock formation is a million years old, which inspires a petite brunette named Irma (played by Karen Robson, who gave up on acting not long after appearing in the film and later became a Hollywood film lawyer and producer) remarks excitedly regarding the destination that it has been, “Waiting a million years just for us.”  While only seemingly half-serious, Irma ultimately seems completely correct due to the bizarre and orphic things that will happened to her and her friends.

 While the girls are on their way to Hanging Rock, a positively posh and somewhat prissy young Brit boy named Michael Fitzhubert (Dominic Guard of Joseph Losey’s The Go-Between (1971)) seems somewhat bored while picnicking with his elderly uncle Colonel Fitzhubert (Peter Collingwood) and aunt Mrs. Fitzhubert (Olga Dickie) in a nearby forest. When his uncle’s glaringly low-class valet Albert (John Jarratt of the Wolf Creek slasher franchise)—a former orphan whose forearms are covered with trashy primitive tattoos—generously offers him a sip of wine, Michael demonstrates his audacious anal retentiveness and keen sense of class consciousness by less than politely cleaning the cleaning the rim of the bottle before taking a small swig, thus underscoring the blatant class differences between the two young men.  Indeed, while Albert is surely symbolic of the virtual white slaves and criminals of largely Irish and Scottish stock that built Australia with their sweat and blood, Michael is the kind of oh-so perfectly proper English chap that sees the country as a mere primitive colony and exotic vacation spot that is inhabited by uncultivated barbarians who have the grand misfortune of being hopelessly incapable of speaking the Queen's English.  Although they will soon become fairly good friends as a result of strange life-changing circumstances that will ultimately tie them together for eternity, the two young fellows could not be more different, with Michael having a rather romantic and even naïve view of the world and Albert, who has clearly experienced much misery and misfortune in his life, being quite disillusioned and pessimistic to the point of not wanting to take life too seriously lest he suffer more personal pain and disappointment.  Indeed, one can certainly tell that happiness for Albert is simply a steady flow of cheap beer and fresh maid pussy (notably, the only people in the film depicted talking about and/or engaging in sex are peasants).  Unbeknownst to Albert, his long lost sister Sara, who he has not seen since they were both little kids living in an orphanage, is one the students at Appleyard College and had Mrs. Appleyard not barred her from going to the picnic, he would have probably experienced the delight of a lifetime by being reuinted with his estranged sibling by mere happenstance. Unfortunately, partly as a result of things that occur during the picnic, Albert will never see his sister again, which is quite sad when one considers how the film ends. 

 When the girls finally arrive at Hanging Rock, alpha-babe Miranda fittingly ushers in the grand celebration by joyously cutting a pink heart-shaped valentine cake and then the girls proceed to do wholesome girly things like examining flowers with magnifying glasses, reading books while lying in the grass, and glamorously basking in the sunlight, though not without the imperative help of lavish Victorian umbrellas. During the very feminine festivities, the youngest and most beauteous teacher of the school, Mademoiselle de Poitiers (Helen Morse)—a character that deeply cares for all her students and is naturally the total opposite of the eponymous bitch portrayed by Jeanne Moreau in Tony Richardson’s somewhat underrated Jean Genet adaptation Mademoiselle (1966)—flips through an art book and comes to the conclusion that “Miranda is a Botticelli angel” after seeing an image of Early Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli’s mid-1480s masterpiece The Birth of Venus. Right after Mademoiselle de Poitiers makes this sensually spoken borderline Sapphic declaration, Miranda, Irma, Marion (Jane Vallis), and a fat and annoying four-eyed blonde human turd named Edith Horton (Christine Schuler) enter the depths of the forest in pursuit of the top of Hanging Rock. While the mostly exceedingly dainty dames are attempting to cross a small stream, they are spotted by Michael and Albert, with the latter deeply offending his posh pal by remarking in regard to Miranda, “And ‘ave a go at the last one! The blonde! Oh, she’d have a decent pair of legs. All the way up to her bum.” Indeed, completely sheltered hopeless romantic Michael cannot bear to hear such crude lecherous language and bitches to Albert, “I’d rather you didn’t say crude things like that,” to which his prole friend rightly replies, “Oh, I say the crude things. You just think ‘em. Take my word for it. The sheilas are all alike when it comes to fellas. Doesn’t matter if it’s a bloody college you come from or the Ballarat Orphanage where me and me kid sister was dragged up.” At this point, Michael develops a romantic obsession with Miranda that only grows all the more extreme when the blonde beauty and her classmates mysteriously disappear into the Delphic depths of the foreboding rock formation. 

 While the girls are climbing up Hanging Rock, rather rotund dork Edith incessantly complains in a remarkably obnoxious fashion, stating things like, “I never thought it would be so nasty or I wouldn’t have come.” Unlike Edith, who is clearly not the outdoors type, the other girls seem completely entranced by the rocks, with Irma remarking while in a seemingly ecstatic state, “If only we could stay out all night and watch the moon rise.” The girls also bring up that fact that Sara has been writing poetry “all about Miranda,” which inspires Irma to prophetically remark, “Sara reminds me of a little deer Papa brought home once. I looked after it, but it died. Mama always said it was doomed.” After the girls take their socks and shoes off, it almost seems as if they are under the spell of some ominous supernatural force that is forcing them to head further up the rocks. Indeed, while staring down at her classmates from the top of the rocks, Marion—a blonde with glasses that somewhat looks like a nerdier version of Miranda—remarks while in a seemingly possessed state while sounding like an autistic philosopher, “Whatever can those people be doing down there? Like a lot of ants. Surprising the number of human beings [that] are without purpose. Although it is probable they’re performing some function unknown to themselves.” Somewhat bizarrely, Miranda calmly but seemingly impulsively replies to Marion by stating in a haunting fashion, “Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place.” At this point, all the girls pass out as if under some sort of trance caused by the sun and eventually an iguana sinisterly passes by Miranda’s body while she is lying unconscious on the ground. When the girls finally wake up from their seemingly blissful slumber, Edith declares, “I feel perfectly awful” and then asks her friends, “When are you going home?,” but they do not even acknowledge her, let alone respond to her, and instead, as if trapped in an ethereal nightmare, enter into the recesses of the rock face like a parade of angels sacrificing themselves to hell. Completely haunted by what she sees, Edith screams hysterically and begins running back to her classmates. On her way back, Edith spots Miss Greta McCraw running across a plateau in nothing but her pantaloons. As it turns at, Miranda, Marion, Irma, and Miss McCraw have disappeared without a trace under most dubious circumstances that only become all the more bizarre and inexplicable as the film progresses. 

 Naturally, a large search party for the missing girls is eventually started and led by a fellow named Sergeant Bumpher (Wyn Roberts) and his comrade Constable Jones (Garry McDonald), but no one is found, thus completely mystifying all the local townspeople, who refuse to believe that one of their neighbors might be responsible for their dubious disappearance. When Sergeant Bumpher asks Michael why he was following the girls the day that they went missing, he replies in a somewhat scared fashion, “I was curious. In England, you ladies like that wouldn’t be allowed to go walking. Not alone, anyway. But they’d gone by the time I came out of the trees, so I turned back.” Not surprisingly considering she is a glaringly sexually repressed widow whose hatred seems to be largely the result of both her loneliness and lack of sexual release, headmistress Mrs. Appleyard seems especially interested to know if Edith was molested, but the local physician, an elderly fellow named Doctor McKenzie (John Fegan), gladly informs her that the fat girl is still “quite intact” (which is something he will notably repeat multiple times throughout the film). Despite the fact that he never even got the opportunity to introduce himself to the girls, Michael is especially disturbed by their disappearance, most specifically in regard to Miranda, who he seems to believe he loves. Indeed, as Michael meekly confides to Albert, “I wake up every night in a cold sweat…Just wondering if they’re still alive.” Of course, Michael is not too happy with Albert when he replies, “Yeah, well, the way I look at it is this: If the bloody cop and the bloody abo tracker and the bloody dog can’t find ‘em, well, no one bloody can. People have been bushed before today, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s the stone end of it.”  Visibly distressed, Michael replies to the Australian peasant is an exceedingly bitchy fashion, “Well, it’s not the end of it as far as I’m concerned. They may be out there dying of thirst on—on that infernal rock and…you and I are sitting here drinking cold bloody beer.” When Michael asks him to go with him to Hanging Rock to search for the girls, Albert initially replies, “A week in the bush, they’d be dead by now,” though he ultimately decides to help out his posh pal because he probably thinks he is too big of a sheltered pansy to go on the search mission by himself. 

 When the two unlikely friends head to Hanging Rock to search for the missing girls, they ultimately find nothing, so Michael, who has become fanatical in his obsession with finding the little ladies, decides to stay there overnight by himself and even insults Albert for not being as concerned with finding the girls as he is (in fact, Michael insults his friend's lowly Australian peasant background, stating to him that he and his countrymen do not care enough, “Just because you lot are Australians...”). The next morning, it seem as if Michael is fighting with unseen forces while trying in vain to crawl across rocks while crying “Miranda,” thus hinting at some sort of sinister supernatural presence at Hanging Rock. When Albert comes back to check up on his friend, he shocked to find him completely broken and nearly delirious and thus immediately calls upon a rescue team who have the super sensitive bourgeois boy carried out on a stretcher. Before being driven away in a buggy, Michael, who seems to have temporarily lost the ability to speak, hands Albert a lace fragment from one of the girls dresses in an almost conspiratorial fashion that he has clenched inside his hand, thus inspiring the rowdy Australian to quickly head back to Hanging Rock where he ultimately finds and kicks the body of Irma, who he naturally assumes is dead since she has been missing for over a weak. Rather Miraculously, Irma has survived and as Dr. McKenzie reports, she is still “quite intact,” though is left temporarily bedridden due to exposure and dehydration, among other fairly minor health complications.  Despite the fact that Irma has been found alive, headmistress Mrs. Appleyard is as bitchy and hateful as ever as parents are predictably withdrawing their daughters from the school as a result of their fear that it might be a dangerous place for their daughters to stay.  A compulsively callous and craven cunt of a wicked wench if there ever was one, Mrs. Appleyard naturally takes out all of her hatred on the weakest and most defenseless girl Sarah, who she routinely threatens to send back to an orphanage if her guardian Mr. Cosgrove does not pay money that he owes the institution. Meanwhile, Michael attempts to befriend Irma, who has no recollection of what happened to her or her friends, but ultimately scares her away when he eventually demands to know what happened to the other girls (notably, director Weir excised most of this subplot from his 1998 ‘director’s cut’). In what is indubitably the most overtly ‘horror-esque’ scene in the entire movie, Irma, who probably already suffers from a bad case of survivor guilt, is both physically and verbally attacked by a group of girls led by fat Edith after she goes to see them one last time before she permanently departs from the school and heads back to Europa.  While Mademoiselle de Poitiers slaps the shit out of Edith and breaks up the attack, the damage is already done and Irma goes away from the experience looking quite spooked.

 As the film progresses towards its less than heartwarming conclusion, Mrs. Appleyard succumbs to both full-blown dipsomania and senseless sadism. Indeed, when she is not secretly sipping liquor that she has conveniently hidden inside a desk drawer that contains items that she has confiscated from students, the horrific headmistress is forcing Sara to undergo some sort of cruel and unusual punishment, including being strapped to a wall to ostensibly “cure her terrible stooping.” As a result of Mrs. Appleyard’s keenly cruel behavior, a barren teacher named Miss Lumley (Kirsty Child) awkwardly resigns from the college. Of course, this pushes Mrs. Appleyard even further over the edge as indicated by the fact that she soon informs Sara that she will have to withdraw from the college permanently and go back to the dreadful orphanage. In fact, while Mrs. Appleyard lies to Mademoiselle de Poitiers and tells her that Sara left with college with her guardian Mr. Cosgrove that morning, the young girl is still there and opts to kill herself by leaping from her bedroom window instead of enduring life in an orphanage once again. Indeed, the next morning, an elderly gardener is given the shock of a lifetime when he unexpectedly finds Sara’s corpse in the greenhouse. Somewhat morbidly, just before it is revealed that Sara has killed herself, Albert reveals to Michael that his long lost sister visited him in a dream and stated to him, “I’ve come a long way to see ya, and now I must go.” In the end, a nameless/faceless off-screen male narrator states: “The body of Mrs. Arthur Appleyard, Principal of Appleyard College, was found at the base of Hanging Rock on Friday 27 March 1900. Although the exact circumstances of her death are not known, it is believed she fell while attempting to climb the rock. The search for the missing school girls and their governess continued spasmodically for the next few years without success. To this day their disappearance remains a mystery.” Rather fittingly, the film concludes with slow-motion footage of the girls at the picnic at Hanging Rock, with Miranda playfully waving “good bye” to the viewer at the very end. 

 Notably, the female Jungian Marion Woodman once wrote while speaking of a figurative ‘virgin’ (aka ideal female archetype), “The women who is a virgin, one in herself, does what she does not for power or out of the desire to please, but because what she does is true,” which I think is a great way to describe Miranda of Picnic at Hanging Rock. Indeed, a young virginal lady of immaculate beauty who all women want to be and all men want to be with, Miranda is nothing short of the virtual real-life embodiment of the great goddesses of classical literature and ancient myths, hence the potency of the film, which effectively relies on the singular tragedy of such of a perfect female specimen simply disappearing when she is at the unequivocal peak of her pulchritude. For me, the film had an extra personal layer, as Miranda shares a superficial resemblance to the love of my life, who also shares a sort of organic paganistic oneness with nature and who always makes trips to the wilderness have a more magical and whimsical quality, like a Fidus painting come to life, albeit less cartoonish and more erotic. In other words, Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of those rare films that I feel like I have fallen in love with, which was a big surprise as I expected it to be somewhat banal before I actually watched it. For me, the film was like a sort of insanely intoxicating pandemonium of foreplay, as if one were cock-blocked just before fucking their one-true-love for the first time, hence the timeless tragedy of Miranda and her friends disappearance.  Of course, in a way, Miranda was sacrificed for her own beauty, as she disappeared while she was at her physical peak and thus will always be remembered as such by those that knew her, which is undoubtedly one of the things that makes Picnic at Hanging Rock so poetic.  Indeed, one almost suspects that Yukio Mishima, who consciously decided to commit ritual suicide via seppuku after he reached his physical and artistic/intellectual peak, was in some way inspired by the film, but that is probably just wishful thinking (after all, the Japanese Renaissance man had very little use for beautiful women aside from as the occasional prop).

 While Sofia Coppola had described Picnic at Hanging Rock as being an imperative influence on her films, especially The Virgin Suicides (1999) and Marie Antoinette (2006), Weir’s masterful cinematic work somewhat ironically has a more organically feminine essence even though it was directed by a man whose other films have a fairly masculine touch to them (after all, it is somewhat hard to believe that the same man also directed Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), but I digress). Indeed, Weir’s metaphysical horror-romance is certainly a singular work as a film that really can only be vaguely compared to a handful of others films, including Jaromil Jireš’s Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970) and Richard Blackburn’s sole feature Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1973). Undoubtedly, it is somewhat curious that all of these films were made around the same time during the 1970s, as if they were a so-called reactionary response to sexual liberation and feminism, which more or less destroyed any mystique or integrity that young women once had, as their main veins went from being priceless commodities that were practically worth their weight in gold to becoming virtual toilets in the blink of an eye (indeed, unless you belong to a Mormon community, it is practically impossible to find a girl of Miranda's virtue in the contemporary Occident). As for more recent films with a similar essence, Gaspar Noé’s wife Lucile Hadžihalilović’s debut feature Innocence (2004) is like a darker and all the more esoteric nod to Weir’s film, albeit with a rather unfortunate lack of Anglo-Saxon beauty (though Marion Cotillard makes for a worthy substitute for Helen Morse's Mademoiselle de Poitiers character). As much as I enjoy all of the films I have mentioned, none of them is quite as perfect as Picnic at Hanging Rock, which I would describe as arguably one of the most accessible ‘arthouse’ movie ever made, as a rare cinematic work that can bring great joy and ecstasy to both wholesome little girls and dirty old men. Arguably the sunniest piece of gothic horror ever captured on celluloid, Weir’s film is also probably the only ‘girly’ flick that you can watch and enjoy if you’re a male and not feel embarrassed about it (which says a lot since the film technically easily passes the truly lesbianic Bechdel test). Indeed, in a quite potent yet unintentional way, the film is also a remainder why the true organic Überfrau of the world is the woman with the lightest colored pubic hair.  Set in an all-female world where it seems like the quite common contemporary female flaw of navel-gazing is a shameful sin and part of a woman's true beauty lies in her lack of narcissism and mindless self-worship, Picnic at Hanging Rock certainly does seem like a “dream within a dream” in more ways than one, thereupon making it shockingly refreshing for modern viewers who are used to watching unintentionally absurd gynocentric twaddle where even the most imaginary of female problems are portrayed as grave matters.  In that sense, one can look at the character of Miranda's disappearance as symbolic of the tragic decline of true Anglo-Saxon femininity.  Indeed, compared to Miranda, Charlize Theron seems like a soulless dyke (but I guess that is what one from expect from a woman whose mother violently killed her father) and Jennifer Lawrence comes off as a completely vapid and expressionless twat who seems to have the mental maturity of a 7-year-old girl.  In other words, more eroticism permeates from a single shot of Miranda wearing a Victorian dress that hangs all the way down her ankles than in all of the various leaked shaved pussy shots of Ms. Lawrence that are floating around the internet combined.

-Ty E

1 comment:

Aubrey Milquetoast said...

Roger Ebert always raved about "Grave of the Fireflies" refering to it as 'a masterwork' but i`ve always regarded it as embarrassing and idiotic nonsense made by a bleeding heart liberal whos still very bitter about the fact that Japan took a right good hiding via giant mushrooms back in `45.