Contrasting cultural landscapes and spaces in Peter Weir’s film Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), based on Joan Lindsay’s 1967 novel with the same title


  • Jytte Holmqvist



The following essay explores the relationship between contrasting cultures and cultural spaces within a rural Australian, Victorian, context, with reference to the narrated cultural landscape in Joan Lindsay’s novel Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967) and in the film based on the novel, by Peter Weir (1975). In the analysis of the five first scenes of the film, the focus will be on the notion of scenic- and human- beauty that is at once arresting and foreboding, and the various contrasting and parallel spaces that characterise the structure of book and film. The article will draw from a number of additional secondary sources, including various cultural readings which offer alternative methodological approaches to the works analysed, and recorded 1970s interviews with the author and the filmmaker.