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Old 09-29-2016   #21
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Joanna Russ, my favorite crazed feminist and Lovecraft fan, tore into Aickman for using an old technique of leaving out the parts that would allow the story to make sense. But sometimes that's allowable, at least in Picnic at Hanging Rock.
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Old 09-29-2016   #22
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Meh, explanations are not at all required for existence in and of itself. Indeed, most people don’t cease to continue living simply because their circumstances are irrational, They simply come up with their own personal hypothetical explanations for what is going, which are probably completely inaccurate in the end, and carry on. Mainstream scholars have known about quantum mechanics for about a century now. Many metaphysical scholars would argue that its been known about for much longer.

Either way, none of them still have a clue how any of it works. Astronomers are constantly having to modify their rules and projections to account for new discoveries previously held as impossible. Gas giants several times the size of Jupiter orbiting extrasolar stars at distances several times closer than Mercury is to our sun for example. Now it seems that a growing number of veteran physicians who know their practice quite well are embracing this idea that transplanted body parts can in certain circumstances demonstrably imbue the recipients with invasive aspects of the former owners’ memory and/or personality. To this moldy academics who’ve never so much as laid a gloved finger on a pre-treated frog cadaver out of squeamishness, holler in outrage from the insulated security of their libraries. Wow, there is probably no mystery about whose side I gravitate toward more on that point of contention.

These are but a few examples that affirm, to my mind at least, that in the end, for all its virtues, science is ultimately just another religion. So many futurists ecstatically race toward some white light they call the singularity at the end of this vast tunnel on the basis of look how far our knowledge has come. Well, knowledge traveling far in one direction, in no way infers knowledge traveling far in every direction. Take this article for instance.
Your brain does not process information and it is not a computer | Aeon Essays

So what’s the point behind all of this apparent madness on my part? Mainly that knowledge of something is, like most other phenomena, entirely relative. Knowledge is never fixed, or solid, or static. There is seldom, if ever, one truth and one truth alone for any circumstance. Mainstream notions that there somehow is, are more often than not shown in the end to be the square route of vanity and nothing more.

Now, after doing bit of research that, which I’ll add for the sake of any who strongly disagree with me, is by no means comprehensive, I’ve found that while the film was made almost a decade after the book’s initial release, according to what I’ve read the lost chapter was not made readily available until over a decade after the release of the film. Firstly, do correct me if any of that was inaccurate, because I am newborn to this whole ‘lost chapter’ thing. Until seeing this post back up in the recent threads section, I had no idea of the lost chapter’s existence.

This being said, going by that timeline, one can infer that the movie was made specifically not to have a clear and definite explanation. If this be the case, then all I have to say is, why the hell should there be? I won’t bother reiterating every point that followed my thesis that most things in life and reality are never really elaborated upon, there’s no need. The entire soul of the film arose from the uncertainty of its foundation, that was the beauty of it. In no way was it incoherent simply because it didn’t have a mundane and specific academic explanation. People have been arguing about the one right path to take for thousands of years and look where its gotten them, absolutely nowhere. So maybe, there is no one right path.

During the first post, I am guessing whilst thinking aloud as I wrote, I nonchalantly described myself as sadistic. Well, probably little’s changed in that respect. Years and years after seeing Picnic at Hanging Rock, I saw another movie, much different yet in certain ways similar, called Valhalla Rising. In it a group of people found themselves cast into unfamiliar wilds which slowly devoured their brittle condescensions of civilizations, albeit this time around in a very brutal and visceral manner. Just the kind of thing that my heart usually yearns for. For humans to be punished for their absence of perspective in manners matching in grotesquerie the weight of their sins.

Alas though, Picnic’s clarity of vision, its lack of desire to lose itself to such egotistical fury (I am not saying that fury is always egotistical mind you), is one of the things I originally found so wondrous and refreshing about it. Without preaching, the film asserts the reality of the forces of nature being far older, stronger, and by extension, wiser, than mere humanity and artifice are or ever shall be, and they needn’t prove themselves to be so. Throughout the proceedings, all manner of natural phenomena passively subvert the constructs that humans desperately erect like facades in which to house their egos. As natural and expected to those who are honest about the world as wind passively blowing out glass panes. As roots passively pulling down siding. As rain passively eating away at shingles. No explanations are required in my opinion.

That, and people who deal in remakes are pond-scum in general. I won’t even check to see if that ever came to pass, there was no need for it. Come up with your own ideas or work in a filthy assembly line where suit-wearing egos like that truly belong. Same kind of scum who claimed sole rights to Peter Chung’s life’s-work and used it to make that god-awful Aeon Flux reboot starring Urijah Faber, I mean Charlize Theron.
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Old 09-29-2016   #23
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Quote Originally Posted by Prince James Zaleski View Post
I don't count further adaptations of works to be remakes.
That depends. Are they going back to the source material or are they just looking at a classic film?
I haven't seen them but The Ring, Let Me In and the newest version of The Thing looked like remakes of the earlier films rather than a new interpretation of the source material.

These days, it's more likely to be a remake of a classic film. Look at this shower of ####..

109 movie remakes and reboots currently in the works | Den of Geek

What are the chances that the people making The Birds wanted a more faithful adaptation of Du Maurier?

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Old 09-30-2016   #24
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Everyone who prefers the censored version of the book is tripping balls lol...it's meant to be read after reading the entire novel. Imagine reading the book for the first time with its gradual, mannered build-up of tension and then coming to that chapter. Anyone looking at it as "the answer to the mystery" in some Sherlock Holmes sense is missing the point. Randomly cutting out pieces of literary works can sometimes have good results (see Gordon Lish's surgery on Raymond Carver), but this isn't one of them. The novel becomes structurally unsound once the final chapter is removed (the tension drops off following the disappearances). Not talking about the film here - considering it entirely as a written work of fiction.
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Old 09-30-2016   #25
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

I understood that Lindsay agreed to the removal of the final chapter for the book's initial publication.
The Sydney Morning Herald - Google News Archive Search
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Old 09-30-2016   #26
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

I was under the impression she was entirely happy with the finished product.

This discussion has made me want to reread the book. Slamming it on my Kindle as we speak. The film is stunning.

Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
Everyone who prefers the censored version of the book is tripping balls lol...it's meant to be read after reading the entire novel.
I don't think it's vital. Its incidents are suggested in the completed novel, but left somewhat ambiguous as to whether they happened. I also don't see how the story is incoherent without the ending? Its themes of repressed sexuality and how we see how it affects the lives of those in and around the school irrevocably are cogently put.

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The novel becomes structurally unsound once the final chapter is removed (the tension drops off following the disappearances).
I don't think it's a book of tension/suspense. More of haunting emotion. Everything is deliberate and makes sense. I think the completed book works fine enough with or without the final chapter because everything in it is stated in the book itself.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 10-01-2016   #27
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

I've just re-read Chapter 18 and the accompanying notes by John Taylor and Yvonne Rousseau (her book The Murders at Hanging Rock seems to be hard to find at affordable prices now) and it reminded me that Lindsay made changes to Chapter 3 when she cut Chapter 18. The absence of a definitive "correct" text makes the novel even more enigmatic.

Curiously, the situation has a slight echo in the controversy over the director's cut of the movie which is actually shorter than the original (Peter Weir removed some scenes, and added one). Some people (including the film's star, Anne Lambert) think that he shouldn't have tampered with it, given that so many viewers had already fallen in love with the original version. Here's my (perhaps rather simplistic) take on the original version of the film:

My feeling when I first saw it was that it was about the conflict between nature and civilisation. Or, more precisely, between a pagan, sensual identification with the natural world and the repressions of the excessively regimented school system. The sexuality implicit in Valentine's Day is repressed as the girls truss themselves up in corsets and submit to Mrs Appleyard's strict rules on dress and behaviour. As they approach the rock Miss McCraw seems to go into a trance as she recites the geological origins of the rock in rather sexual terms (lava thrusting up from below, etc).

The rock itself is presented sometimes in rather phallic images (particularly in one of the deleted scenes if I remember right) and the long lizard which brushes against one of the girls as she sleeps seems to echo the same theme of erupting sexuality. This also ties in with the fact that the girls and Miss McCraw had taken off their underwear. The pan pipe music is very apposite. One of my dictionaries defines Pan as "the spirit of nature, paganism, the pre-Christian or the non-moral world".

It seems to me that the girls are then absorbed or assimilated by the natural world. Miranda is frequently associated with the image of a swan though I don't think she has literally turned into one. The swan is an emblem of the beauty of the natural world she has now become a part of. It's also noteworthy that Sara dies in the greenhouse where earlier a gardener had demonstrated plants that moved. Sara herself has now also merged with nature and her beloved Miranda. I'm not sure how Michael's discovery of Irma fits into all this. His frenzy on the rock also looks a bit sexual to me (though maybe I've just got a one-track mind!) and perhaps it's the release of his male passion that causes Irma to re-emerge in the world of civilisation. The identical mark on their heads suggests they have bonded in some way and it may be a subtle reference to the "mark of Pan" which I think is mentioned in some myths. (A hoofmark would have been too much of a giveaway.)

The tone of the film suggests that the girls transition is not necessarily a bad thing, so I feel it is closer to the raptures of Blackwood's The Touch of Pan than to the horrors of Machen's The Great God Pan.
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Old 10-01-2016   #28
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

I think it's closer to The White People and the general themes of pagan sexuality/magic being an escape from a mundane and too codified life – an idea also powerfully displayed in Machen's Ornaments in Jade prose poems.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 10-01-2016   #29
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

The missing chapter makes it a bit too tame. Actually, way tame.
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Old 10-01-2016   #30
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Re: Picnic at Hanging Rock

I'm mostly OK with it apart from us being shown the girls going through the portal and Irma being literally blocked off. What I had imagined was much weirder than that. The insane pleasure/pain metaphysical orgy I had in mind was more interesting, and the book as a whole gave the reader enough to feel the rest thematically and emotionally without even needing to delineate how the pagan power functions. The teacher turning monstrous is at least nice.

I would have kept flashes of the chapter for earlier on (which is sort of how it went anyway), but I think the specifics are best left unknown. I'm surprised anybody would feel different given that the mystery not being explicitly resolved is one of the reasons the book stands out.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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