Desire as persistent and intense as the sunshine on a bright summer day is what teases out madness in Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock. The objects, or goals, of these desires are disparate, though they all spiral out following the 1900 disappearance of three young women and a teacher from the Appleyard School during a trip to the small titular ridge on St. Valentine’s Day. The vanishing of these women is central to the plot, but Weir’s film is never as fascinated with the reasons for this absence as it is with the characters left in its inexplicable wake. Cliff Green’s script, adapted from Joan Lindsay’s novel of the same name, never goes about teasing what could have happened to these women at Hanging Rock, instead focusing on the wild cupidity that erupts in the surrounding community in reaction to the mystery.Read More »
Guests arrive at an expensive private guest house on a remote island near Sydney. The guest house and weird activities, like theatre sports and orienteering, are run by a leery eccentric. One of the guests is a loner and the only way to fit in with the crowd is to participate in the questionable events. Some of the games border between comedy and horror – like the murder mystery.Read More »
1971-1980AustraliaDocumentaryPeter WeirShort Film
This short film documents Australian composer Richard Meale’s homage to the young French poet, Arthur Rimbaud. Meale composed a music piece for woodwind, percussion and strings which he titled “Incredible Floridas”. This music is based on the poetry of the Frenchman, which many may find a little obscure.Read More »
Nominally a supernatural thriller, Peter Weir’s third feature resonates with the director’s underlying fascination with the collision between the modern, rational world and the primordial mysteries of older belief systems. In The Last Wave, the keys to an enigmatic murder, as well as baffling disturbances in the weather, are gradually revealed to an Australian lawyer (Richard Chamberlain) within the shadowy, nomadic culture of aborigines living in and around Sydney who until now were presumed to be assimilated into its modern–and white–social fabric. Read More »
A small town in rural Australia (Paris) makes its living by causing car accidents and salvaging any valuables from the wrecks. Into this town come brothers Arthur and George. George is killed when the Parisians cause their car to crash, but Arthur survives and is brought into the community as an orderly at the hospital. But Paris is not problem free. Not only do the Parisians have to be careful of outsiders (such as insurance investigators), but they also have to cope with the young people of the town who are dissatisfied with the status quo.Read More »
From Reel Film Reviews:
The Mosquito Coast, based on the novel by Paul Theroux, manages to do the impossible: It makes Harrison Ford come off as a jerk. But despite this (or maybe because of this), The Mosquito Coast is a compelling little movie.
Ford stars as Allie, a brilliant inventor who’s never really put his talents to good use. He spends much of his time lamenting the current state of America, which is chock full of fast food joints and welfare leeches. Along with his wife and three kids, he lives a fairly comfortable life – taking odd jobs repairing things. In his spare time, he just happens to invent things like a machine that can instantly make ice using fire as fuel. But one day, he gets sick of the American way of life and convinces his family to move to a place called the Mosquito Coast somewhere in South America. He’s actually purchased a small area of land in that vicinity, which basically makes him mayor with a constituency of around 20 people. Allie and family proceed to turn the villagers lives upside down, initially for the better (they build quite an impressive little town, complete with a gigantic ice-making machine), but eventually, Allie begins to relish the power a bit too much and it’s all downhill from there.Read More »
1961-19701971-1980AustraliaPeter WeirShort Film
Peter Weir Short Film Collection is a wonderful collection of some early works of this great Australian director, at a time when the local film industry was beginning to take great strides forward. These films may not appeal to the average mainstream film viewer, but if you’re keen to view the rarely seen beginnings of Peter Weir’s career, or you are a fan of early Australian cinema, then this will be an asset to your collection.
Reading through the current filmography of Weir’s impressive body of work, it’s safe to say that not many filmmakers could match the level of consistent quality in their work. From these humble beginnings, Peter Weir has firmly established himself as one of world’s finest film directors.Read More »
Weir made this plumber-from-hell telemovie directly after Picnic at Hanging Rock. Although feeling somewhat like an extended short film that pushes the limits of credibility when stretched into a longer narrative format (would anyone really put up with a plumber this bad, assuming that a plumber could be this bad) it is for the most part diverting thanks to the performances of Judy Morris as the stay-at-home wife and particularly Ivor Kants as the plumber and Weir’s skill (he also penned the script) in keeping us guessing as to where the story is going or even in a Hitchcock-like way, what kind of film we are watching, thriller, horror or comedy. Less convincing are the scenes with Robert Coleby as the over-preoccupied husband and university dork but at least stylistically they have a naïve charm. As a side interest the film also manifests Weir’s preoccupation with the primitive/civilized opposition and of course, water. – BHRead More »