This weekend I watched the classic 1975 Australian film, Picnic at Hanging Rock. Based on the novel of the same name, the story is set in 1900 in rural Australia, and centres around a day trip that a very prim all girls school takes to a nearby picnic spot.
The central character, a beautiful and enigmatic girl named Miranda, leads three other girls up the mountain during the picnic, and they are never seen again. Described as a ‘Botticelli angel’, Miranda has a strange and sensual hold over teachers and students alike. For its time, the cinematography is really quite experimental, and it is used to create a kind of hazy, girlish dreaminess that is characteristic of more contemporary films like Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides. In fact, Picnic at Hanging Rock possesses a similarly elegant eeriness, which comes to life in the cast of heavy-lidded, listless and beautiful girls.
Smooth skinned, clear-eyed and knowing, they want nothing more than to remove their pristine white gloves and restrictive nylons, and see something new. The costuming is beautiful – a theatre of all white debutante’s dresses, slightly different but largely identical, set against a backdrop of red earth, rock and latent angst.
Ample visual inspiration for the week ahead.