Items needing improvement are highlighted below Punctuation-text referencing Bibliography Titles of texts Quotations Paragraphing Comments: Grade: 1 -Discuss the role of geography and place in any film adaptation and its source text from weeks 6-10. Peter Weir, adapted to film the novel Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay in 1975. Will explore how this adaptation portrays the clash between colonizers and the aborigine. This postcolonial gothic clearly contrasts the attitude of the settlers and colonizers with the myths and traditions of the “new land”.
This opposition is materialized with the two landscapes chosen to develop the Story. The plot is set in Australia, specifically in Victoria. A group of girls from influential families study in Applecart College. A boarding school that teaches according to the highest standards of English school education. The other important setting of the movie is the Hanging rock, a mysterious place where the girls go to have a picnic one day in order to get to know the rear they live in now. Both, the movie and the book portray a defined dichotomy between the school and the rock.
It could be said that both embody civilization and the primitive respectively. James Bell claims how Australia and its landscape is an exploited resource for many authors: The idea that the otherworldly, ancient landscape of the Australian Interior has been somehow impenetrable to its country’s more recent settlers, the vast majority of whom live in the towns that cling to the safety of the coast, has been one that has long occupied the Australian imagination, explored in kooks and films by Australians and outsiders 0) Indigenous Australia is usually portrayed as savage, mystical and mysterious.
Postcolonial cinema tends to define a vast gap between colonizers and colonized. The characteristics of the conquered land and its inhabitants are incomprehensible. Therefore it is always approached with a lack of knowledge. The landscape and the indigenous are associated with the natural, the primitive and the irrational. At Picnic at Hanging Rock the colonizers point of view is highlighted as there is no representation of any aborigine. It could be said that the rock embodies the indigenous Australia.
Kaplan stated that “Western spectators’ eyes have been “imperialism” throughout the history of Hollywood cinema” (Kaplan 1 997, p. 219). Considering Kaplan statement the spectator should understand how influenced is by cinema and that what postcolonial cinema portrays are lands without the indigenous subject position. In a land where both cultures had to blend, Applecart College is a clear representation of a European society that rejects change. The architecture of the building the gardens around the school and even the way every character is dressed are illustrations of the English society.
Also the morals and the codes of behavior are important. The girls have to behave according with the Victorian morals, they even have to ask for permission to take off their gloves in such a warm weather. At the beginning of the novel the Applecart College is described as: An architectural anachronism in the Australian bush- a hopeless misfit in time and place. The clumsy two storey mansion was one of those elaborate houses that sprang up all over Australia like exotic fungi following the finding of gold. (Lindsay, 1967, p. ) The words used to describe the school enhance the relevance of the role of this particular place. Describing it as something that is out of place puts the reader in a position in which acknowledges that Applecart is an intrusion, both the building and the people inside it. In addition, it also highlights the expansion of the colonizers. It seems than the comparison of the colonizers with the exotic fungi explains that they are like a plague without Stop. A firm figure that will expand without blending with the aborigine culture.
The movie begins firstly with the Hanging rock and then the Applecart College appears. The sequence in which the College is showed, it emerges with a tilting camera movement. It goes from a dry, savage and yellow field to the sharp building with green gardens. The building is presented as if it were a central character of the movie. It could be said that The Applecart College is personified into a colonizer in the middle of a savage land. The green of the garden contrasts with the dry fields around the school. It looks like England, with its typical buildings and gardens. Robbery the only different thing is the weather, a cloudless sky and an extremely hot weather for a 14th of February. Moving inside the building, rooms and bathrooms are showed and all have typical elegant European decorations. As described in the book, they have brought Victorian furnishing, marbles from Italy and carpets from Sinister. They have also employed Mr. Whitehead, who is an English gardener. The first scene of the movie presents a misty plain with some trees. When the mist evaporates, Hanging rock appears mysteriously.
This scene portrays the main location of the plot and forebodes an uncertain future. As well as the Applecart College is the personification of the European colonizers, it could be said that Hanging rock is the personification of the aborigine. As James Bell suggests “Some of the rock’s contortions hauntingly assemble faces; there are ancestral ghosts watching over this supposedly empty landscape” (Bell, 2010). It seem there is nobody watching, that the landscape is there available to be conquered. However, aborigine mythology and spirits are there to control their land.
During the picnic of Applecart s students at the Hanging rock, a small group of girls ask for permission in order to explore the rock deeply. Being granted with the petition, they happily dance among the trees, ready to climb the mysterious rock. The inhabitants of the rock are described in the book as: On the rocks and grass the diligent ants were crossing miniature Sahara of dry sand, jungles of seeding grass, in the never ending task of collecting and storing food. Here scattered about amongst the mountainous human shapes were heaven-sent crumbs, caraway seed, a shred of crystallites ginger. Lindsay, 2013, p. 16) The girls reflect about the rock and the ants. Here the landscape serves also to create a parallel world in which these girls are lured to. They reflect about the ants as if they were human beings and they compare them with the rest of the group, as they are able to see the rock s surroundings. The girls disappear, only two escape from the power of the rock. However, the girls do not comprehend where they live and the rules of this new nature. The girls embody the innocence against the unknown, the rock is the savage, the unexplored.
The aborigine of Australia had their own rituals and beliefs. They believed they shared the land with spirits (Clarke, 2007, p. 142). Clarke studied the words of the missionary George Tapping, who states: That Engineered people in the Lower Murray region of South Australia believed in a “Wood demon,” which assumes any shape he pleases; sometimes he is like an old man, at other mimes he will take the form off bird, or a burnt stump, and always for the purpose of luring individuals within his reach, so that he may destroy them. (Quoted in Clarke, 2007, p. 42) This words would confirm that the reason of the disappearance of the girls is caused by a supernatural creature or spirit. It could be said that the rock is the shape of this particular mysterious rock and abducts them. We do not know if it is with the purpose of destroying them or not because they simply would never be seen again. “Australia, where anything might happen” (Lindsay, 2013, p. 24). The book clearly forebodes that his is a land with its own jurisdiction. The rock would be feared in the future as it is impossible to understand what have happened.