Australian film director Peter Weir ("Dead Poets Society," "Witness") has established himself as a talented director, but the filmmaker's earlier efforts have gone largely unnoticed by the American public.
"Picnic at Hanging Rock," released in 1975, is one of Weir's best.
Set in 1900, the film centers around three girls and their teacher who literally vanish off the face of the earth while on a school outing at Australia's Hanging Rock--a favorite haunt of the upper-class whites and a spiritual ground for the aborigines.
Based on a Joan Lindsay novel, which was supposedly based on an actual account, Weir nudges the viewer along a psychedelic/supernatural path that follows the events before and after the foursome's disappearance.
With the use of a King Crimson-like soundtrack, the film has an almost drug-induced feel that tugs at your senses.
As with all Weir films, the environment plays an intricate part in the story. In this case, Australia's famed Ayers Rock is used as a haunting backdrop.