Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Screenings: Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

A few weeks ago I had the immense pleasure of seeing Peter Weir's great cinematic enigma at the International House Philadelphia.  Best of all, it was a 35mm projection.  It was my first ever experience of seeing a classic film presented as such.  The film is as troubling as it is beautiful.  Unsettling as it is hypnotizing.  I found that I took no notice of the evidently well worn print and was immersed into the film.  When the lights went down and I heard the initial crackle of the soundtrack coming on, I knew that I was in a visceral experience, something which I shall always champion in these days where digital consumption of the industry has arrived.  I found myself short of breath during the screening, as the weight of the impenetrable, agonizing mystery on screen seemed very real to me.  By the end of the film, with the heartbreaking second movement from Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto playing I felt something I never quite received from contemporary films and that's a sense of timeless endurance.  This was a unique opportunity which I braved cold and dark streets to experience and am glad to have done so.

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