I thought I'd switch up today's post and do what I call a "Film Muse". As many of you know, I waste countless hours watching movies, so it's only natural that I put a little more time into explaining my love for them on here, right? Above are some crude screenshots I took for my personal swipe file.
The left shows Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975 dir. Peter Weir) and the right is The Virgin Suicides (1999 dir. Sofia Coppola). Maybe I'm late on this boat, but while watching Weir's film I couldn't help but realize the cinematic similarities between the two.
Check list: repressed female sexuality, modest clothing, and mystery!
Picnic at Hanging Rock focuses on a group of Victorian girls in the Australian wild that go missing whilst on a picnic. The Virgin Suicides shares the same mystery as the former, as a small town in the '70s tries to come to terms with why the lusted after Lisbon sisters decided to all commit suicide. Both films operate in a voyeuristic approach, displaying the girl's beauty in closeups and montages. I can't tell if I should be creeped out or mesmerized.
I tried to research online to see if Sofia Coppola used Picnic At Hanging Rock as cinematic inspiration (see similar shots above), but couldn't find anything about it. But most importantly, both films and books center around the notion of mystery. Best summed up by a reviewer online:
"We, as the audience, are not supposed to care about why these events happened, but rather how the mystery affects us". (source)
"We worked very hard," Weir told an interviewer for Sight & Sound, "at creating an hallucinatory mesmeric rhythm, so that you lost awareness of facts, you stopped adding things up, and going into this enclosed atmosphere. I did everything in my power to hypnotize the audience away from the possibility of solutions." (source)
Although finding the solutions is impossible (and sometimes intended to be), if you've seen both of the films, do what implications do you think were made? Because the girls at Hanging Rock were undressing/revealing their sexuality, were they punished with their disappearance? Because Lux gave herself to Trip in the football field, was it ultimately the catalyst of the Lisbon girls' deaths? How much agency do all of these women truly have, or are they merely just passive participants in society? Are these directors trying to explain the hardship of young women throughout the decades, or rather just create a mystery story with beautiful girls?
It's definitely something I think about, perhaps too much. Although they are ultimately just books/movies, this kind of stuff sticks with me. So what you do you guys think? Leave some comments down below and we'll discuss!
I hope you all enjoyed, and if you haven't seen the movies already, I urge you to asap!