Picnic At Hanging Rock initial demeanour – full-throttle reboot of an …
February 14, 2018 - Picnic Time
It is frequency strange to contend a executive Peter Weir’s 1975 masterpiece Picnic during Hanging Rock evokes a dream-like ambience. A quote even opens a film, from a famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe, about introspective existence as a dream within a dream. Weir indulged in contradictions: a mood fragile yet haunting; a tinge picturesque yet fantastical; a story open-ended yet grimly final.
Though technically a re-adaptation (of Joan Lindsay’s 1967 novel) rather than a remake, a shade of Weir’s film looms vast over Foxtel’s arriving six-part radio series. It will fundamentally pull comparisons, and cries of, ‘Why even go there?’
It takes no time for a initial partial (which had a first-ever press screening on Wednesday in Melbourne, and forms a border of this review) to settle a strikingly opposite groove. Gone are a vessel flutes and soothing hues. Gone is a elegance. This is a crazier, full throttle, some-more literally charming dream, liughtness and contrariety cranked by a roof.
The weed is so immature it looks like bubble-wrapped astro turf. When object collides with women in white dresses, a outcome is reduction radiant than retina-burning. The new Picnic has a stickiness of a Kettering Incident, a shimmer of Luhrmann’s Gatsby, a candied glaze of Tim Burton’s Wonka or Wonderland, as if a support has been lonesome in muck from a melted rainbow.
If this sounds some-more like a calamity than a dream, maybe that’s a point. The furious hardness of Garry Phillips’ cinematography is equivalent by partially solemn editing. There are lengthy, slow shots, as in a rudimentary moments depicting puzzling widow Hester Appleyard (Natalie Dormer, aka Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones) inspecting a palace for sale in Macedon, Victoria.
Appleyard – a basket box now, by a approach – transforms a skill into a propagandize for immature ladies. Pupils embody Irma (Samara Weaving), Marion (Madeleine Madden) and Miranda (Lily Sullivan, recently in Romper Stomper and Jungle). Dora Lumley (Yael Stone) is a headmistress’s constant second-in-command.
Canadian-born substantiating executive Larysa Kondracki (passing a baton, after a initial 3 episodes, to Amanda Brotchie and Michael Rymer) continues a prolonged tradition of unfamiliar filmmakers exploring Australian landscapes in distilled fact – notably, Scottish filmmaker Harry Watt in The Overlanders, associate Canadian Ted Kotcheff in Wake in Fright, and Englishman Nicolas Roeg in Walkabout.
While Weir’s Picnic is a hermetically hermetic universe, existent in a possess fragile space, a radio array is zeitgeisty, clearly connected to heightened seductiveness around female-led and empowered narratives. In a initial partial Miranda fends off a excitable child in a stables by pushing a pitchfork into his feet.
Appleyard, however, has hijacked a story this time around, author Beatrix Christian (with a integrate of after episodes penned by Alice Addison) configuring her as a Miss Peregrine-esque leader: maternal yet lively and chic. Natalie Dormer’s terrific, scenery-chewing opening punches by a thick, spirituous atmosphere around her. The remaining expel competence need a small longer than a initial partial to do a same.
The lapse to Hanging Rock is partial of a current, nostalgia-tapping trend in Australian film and television. In new years we’ve seen sequels/remakes/adaptations of Mad Max, The Devil’s Playground, Turkey Shoot, Wolf Creek, Romper Stomper and Wake in Fright – and that, erm, fake trailer for Crocodile Dundee.
It’s unfit to call it after usually one episode, yet a Picnic during Hanging Rock redux appears to go to a top membrane of a movement. It’ll take some-more than a singular ep to get a hold on where it’s going thematically, yet a essay on a wall suggests a distinguished contemporary character will meaningfully supplement to an old, well-probed content (and clamp versa).
And prohibited damn, a uncover looks amazing. It’s a blast to watch it shift on a margin between windy value and stylistic profusion – for now, during least, gripping on a good side of a divide. You could disagree this is a box of character over substance, yet a same evidence could be made, however foolishly, of Weir’s classic.
The source material’s puzzling beauty registers here on a opposite level; maybe a opposite state of consciousness. It’s as if we fell asleep, woke up, afterwards fell defunct again.
• Picnic during Hanging Rock screens during Berlin film festival on 19 and 23 February, and has a universe radio premiere on 6 May on Foxtel