Picnic At Hanging Rock

Blu-Ray Rating: *****

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Read Jennie Kermode's film review of Picnic At Hanging Rock
"Miranda knows lots of things other people don't know. Secrets. She knew she wouldn't come back."

Widely admired, highly influential and still generating new theories after all these years, Peter Weir's Picnic At Hanging Rock is a film to treasure. As such, it's one which many fans will already own - so how might they be persuaded to purchase a new version? Recognising this, the team at Second Sight Films has really gone above and beyond in assembling this impressive package, the highlight of which is a new Ultra HD 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative, supervised by Weir himself and Oscar-winning cinematographer Russell Boyd. Unless you're one of the lucky few who caught it in the cinema soon after release, it's unlikely that you've ever see the film looking this good. What's more, you can enjoy it here in multiple versions, including the ending missing from the original theatrical cut which complicates the tale without resolving its central mystery.

There's a surfeit of special features to explore, including audio commentaries which help to contextualise aspects of the film and provide a good introduction to some of the more popular theories connected with the story. These are substantiated more fully in documentary A Dream Within A Dream, though perhaps the most interesting feature in this regard is the interview with the author of the original novel, Joan Lindsay, guarded though she is. The limited edition of this package includes a copy of her book, with an exclusive new cover to match the slipcase. Three of the art cards included are in the same style, by artist Thinh Dinh, whilst the other three feature classic stills from the film.

Copy picture

For those interested in the production side of things, there are new interviews with Bod and camera operator John Seale (who went on to win two Oscars, for The English Patient and Mad Max Fury Road), whilst a new interview with then-17-year-old star Karen Robson reveals something of what it was like to be on set whilst the film was being made.

With a selection of other bits and pieces to please fans, including outtakes and the original trailer (which feels, in retrospect, a little heavy-handed compared to the rest), this is a real pleasure to discover. You will need a day or two to watch it all, so it is best enjoyed piece by piece over time, making space for you to appreciate its central themes and questions. If you're looking for answers, you won't find them here, but it will give you access to a handful of secrets.

Reviewed on: 30 Apr 2023
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Picnic At Hanging Rock packshot
A group of schoolgirls and their teachers mysteriously disappear whilst visiting Hanging Rock.
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Product Code: B0BW16J63G

Region: 0

Extras: New 4K scan and restoration from the original camera negative; restorations of the director’s cut and original theatrical cut; audio commentary by film academics Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson; A Lovely Day For A Picnic: a new interview with actor Karen Robson; Finding The Light: a new interview with director of photography Russell Boyd; Crashing Through Boundaries: a new interview with Camera Operator John Seale; Something Beyond Explanation: Thomas Caldwell on Picnic At Hanging Rock; A Dream within A Dream feature length documentary; an interview with author Joan Lindsay; Recollection: Hanging Rock 1900; outtakes; original long trailer. Limited Edition only: paperback book with new essays by Daniel Bird, Kat Ellinger and Justine Smith plus an archive essay by Rebecca Harkins-Cross; costume gallery; feature on the original marketing of the film and the new restoration; the original novel with a new cover by Thinh Dinh; 6 collectors' art cards.

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