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Issue Details: First known date: 2014... 2014 Darling Miranda : Courtly Love in Picnic at Hanging Rock
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'2015 will mark 40 years since the release of Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock. The film, based on the 1967 novel by Joan Lindsay, concerns the inexplicable disappearance of three schoolgirls and a governess from a picnicking party on Valentine's Day in 1900. The film is characterized in criticism and cultural theory alike as a meditation on the stirrings of twentieth-century Australian society, whereby the trappings of Victorian England (figured as the ‘old world’) are gradually giving way to the new, Australian-born settler culture. These binary contrasts, populating the narrative and visual style of the film, have in turn driven a large portion of the criticism and literature produced in response. This paper considers Picnic at Hanging Rock as a love story, taking as its central focus the ‘unconsummated’ relationship between disappeared schoolgirl Miranda and recently arrived young English aristocrat Michael Fitzhubert. This is a relationship figured through courtly love: an admiration from afar. Miranda's subsequent, permanent disappearance from the narrative of the film means that for Michael, the brief moment of encounter forms the basis for every dream and remembrance occurring thereafter. The courtly love current through the film is enhanced by the setting of Valentine's Day, thereby cloaking the film in the rituals of love – albeit often unrequited. Jacques Lacan's and Slavoj Žižek's works on courtly love and beauty are drawn on to site the film in a critical landscape beyond the either/or of a binaric structuralist convention.' (Publication summary)

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Last amended 17 May 2016 14:53:26
123-132 Darling Miranda : Courtly Love in Picnic at Hanging Rocksmall AustLit logo Studies in Australasian Cinema