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An Analysis of “Picnic at Hanging Rock”

2021-08-09 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文

51Due教员组给各位留学生分享一篇纯原创代写范文essay,文章主要讨论电影的信息,在这篇文章中,我将分析1975年澳大利亚神秘电影“野餐在悬岩”导演彼得威尔。这部戏剧描述了情人节在悬挂岩野餐时,一所私立学校的几个女孩和她们的一位老师失踪的故事。这部电影本身对普通观众来说是相当令人不安的,因为谜团从未解开。为了让这部电影有意义,我将参考奥里根(2005)的第11章《国家电影院》和麦高文(2012)的《导言:从想象的眼神到真实的凝视》中的以下两个读物。

希望这篇可以帮助到各位留学生,同时需要代写也可以直接联系我们51Due客服vx(vx:Athey520)进行咨询。

 

Introduction

 

For this essay, I am going to analyse the 1975 Australian mystery film “Picnic at Hanging Rock” directed by Peter Weir. The drama depicts the disappearance of several girls from a private school and one of their teachers during a picnic at Hanging Rock on Valentine’s Day. The film itself is quite disturbing for general audiences as the mystery was never solved. Attempting to make sense to the film, I will be referring to the following two readings “A National Cinema”, Chapter 11 from O’Regan (2005) and “Introduction: From the Imaginary Look to the Real Gaze” from McGowan (2012).

 

From a National Cinema Perspective

 

Identification as a “national film”

More than 30 years from the film release date, the film is drastically different from the mystery drama we usually have now. To actually understand the film, we first need to look at the film in a broader context. Tom O’Regan (2005), in this sense, provides quite helpful insights to the characteristics of Australian cinema in common. O’Regan claims that “the Australian cinema contends with Hollywood dominance”, and it adopts a simultaneous local and international form. As a part of this group, “Picnic at Hanging Rock” (hence forward “Hanging Rock) represents the “aesthetic and production” features the production group had in mind for an Australian film. Almost all the elements in the “Hanging Rock” are easily labelled as “Australian”: the clothing, the scenery, the animals, and the town life reflected.

 

Taking grounds in local and international market

In the meantime, however, “Hanging Rock” is also trying to appeal international audience with its general mystery structure, and special interest for UK audiences. But still, it is easy to tell that this film is not a Hollywood production. This film definitely reflects Weir’s effort to win ground for Australian film in both local and international market. As explained in O’Regan (2005), the Australian elements in “Hanging Rock” is not an alternative or defiance towards internationalization, it is trying to convey the national culture and aesthetics to the international market. As in O’Regan(2005)’s argument, this film embodied the quirky, and eccentric Australian culture in order to “establish international attractiveness”.

 

Culture in the film

The two key features of the culture depicted in the film are strong inheritance from the “old country”, England, and sensational natural scenery and animals of Australia. Both characteristics still prevails in today’s Australia even after more than 30 years. The production group, in this sense, grasped the most salient and persevere traits of Australian culture. Thus, time has certainly proved the value of this film. This is one of the “location” film mentioned in O’Regan’s book that has been “crucial to Australian cinema”, and “providing models and opening out new territory for local film-makers to follow”.


Emphasis on Landscape

O’Regan(2005) mentions that “Hanging Rock” put a strong emphasis on landscape as character. There is a great proportion of the film featuring the landscapes in the “Hanging Rock”, and Weir uses the landscape to communicate emotions throughout the film, peacefulness in the beginning, stressfulness in the middle, and pondering towards the end. This emphasis is a part of the film-maker’s effort to label itself as national, while trying to appeal international audiences. What’s being added to the landscape, are those “exotic/Australian animals” which seemed to be colourful but ominous. What we should be aware is that, even if the film attracts both local and international audiences, they would appreciate the film in different ways, as explained in O’Regan(2005).

 

Festive Feature

Surprisingly, when I first wrote the essay, I did not expect the film to have so many features in common with the so called “national cinema” described in O’Regan(2005). “Hanging Rock” also embodies this festive feature in the film. The film starts with St Valentine’s Day. The college, and schoolgirls are all filled with this romantic air brought by Valentine’s Day. This particular setting provides solid argument for the girls’ behaviour before and during the picnic, and the artistic/romantic atmosphere at the beginning of the film. The girls are full of romance thoughts and trying to make sense of life behind the noisy festive scenes. It also makes more sense for the nephew to be involved in the drama.

 

Multicultural environment

For a small school with less than 20 students, we already have a multicultural presence. We have people from continental Europe, England, and Australia locals. We have upper-middleclass people, and we also have orphans, greenhouse keepers, servants, policemen and average town residents. It is always more interesting to involve different people in the same story, and that is where the conflict stems. As we mentioned previously, the Australianess not involve purely Australian local people, but has to become more and more diversified, which is even more true at present day. Not much on national identity is touched upon in “Hanging Rock”, but we are still glad to see the film-maker is trying to engage diversified characters.

 

Having discussed the film in a broader “Australian film” context, we need to shift our focus to the Lacanian film Theory. If the first part is to analyse through a geographical dimension, and following part is more like analysing from a time dimension, trying to make sense of the film under the context of contemporary thoughts and theory.

 

Lacanian Film Theory

Film theorists relate to Lacan’s ideological theory and claim that individuals “misrecognize themselves as subjects by taking up a socially given identity and seeing themselves in the identity” (McGowan 2012). The process consists two stage: mirror stage and the cinematic experience. This theory could be used to understand critically the cinematic experience that was “informed by psychoanalytic thinking (McGowan 2012). In the mirror stage, the audiences need to “present in the film” by their look’s caress. And then as perceivers, they should be able to “escape the sense of real absence that characterizes life outside the cinema”. Therefore, the experience of watching a film should resemble a temporary escape in the real world, and also temporary participation in the life created by the film.

 

Imaginary

Therefore, in the Lacanian theory, imaginary is very important for a film. Imaginary provides illusion for the spectators. And by illusion, spectators would be able to ignore many aspects of the imaginary life. It is a transmission from visual to illusory. “Hanging Rock” is a quite good example of a film who succeeded in the mirror stage. The beginning of the firm sets a tone of nearly toxic romance. Everything is beautiful, the girls’ faces, the clothing, the furniture, letters and the conversations. Each frame is like an oil painting. It is like pouring a glass of sweet wine for the spectators. And, audiences could be easily led to the imaginary state.

 

Blanks for imaginary

Another important method adopted by “Hanging Rock” is it has left many blanks for spectators to imagine. This is one special feature that worth noticing in my mind. We would normally compare the experience of reading the novel and watching the film. The most important difference is that when we read the novel, the plot and characters live in our imaginary world, but when we watch the film, we allow the film-maker to guide/feed us. “Hanging Rock”, however, leaves many parts for us the self-create. For example, in the conversation between the girls on top of Hanging Rock, they discussed how Sara has wrote many poems for Miranda, and how Sara resembles a deer her father bought her. Those conversations secretly push audiences to picture in their minds. Examples like these avails in the film.

 

Symbolic order

As stated in McGowen(2012), the symbolic order is the “structure supporting and regulating the visible world”. The symbolic identity is not supposed to fit the audience perfectly, but it forms the spectator’s imaginary identity or sense of self. Miranda, for example, is mostly identified when she discuss purpose of life to herself, and Sara would be identified as the passionate follower who had a hard line of life. These identifications, however, are just partial identification. The spectator, of course, cannot be Miranda or Sara completely.

 

Gaze through symbolic objects

Another important function of the imaginary is “gaze”. Spectators would have the chance to gaze through symbols established by the film. For example, would you gaze to check which feminine character could be identified by you? Would you gaze through Sara to find that person who has been under lots of constraints, and always feel powerless when things happen? Would you gaze though Mrs Appleyard when you are forced to do things, and when everything comes at you? Audiences would have different experiences as they gaze from/identify with different characters. Whether most spectators could find something to identify influences the success of a particular film. “Hanging Rock” would have a very general audience in Australia, but internationally, I would think spectators who can be led into the second stage or third stage would be mostly female.

 

Conclusion

 

Due to the scope of this one essay, it is very hard to analyse the film in great details with reference to the two very good readings. What I have shown in this essay is that we could understand “Picnic at Hanging Rock” from two perspectives. Firstly, we should acknowledge the Australian features in the film, and be aware that it is part of the movement that is trying to contend Hollywood production, winning grounds in both local and international market. Secondly, we have examined the efforts the film-maker took to bring spectators into imaginary stage and connect them with symbolic order established by the film. The film is a general success as it provides abundant instances through which the spectators could gaze and identification. However, it does have its limitations as most spectators who could identify in the experience would be female.


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