"A million years...just for us": Subversive fixity in Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock
Donna Haraway's "Cyborg Manifesto" identifies the potential for marginalised sub-groups to resist oppression by "seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other". In the field of visual representation, this agenda can be applied to the aesthetic syntax by which this 'Othering' is deployed, namely to the formal parameters and construction of marginalised identities. Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) through its romanticised imagery, and narrative of Victorian sexual repression, ostensibly sets up a classical heterosexist ideology of woman as enigmatic Other; her presence a narratively unthreatening interval of erotic contemplation. I argue a re-reading of the film where this phallocentric project becomes self-defeating as its tools turn against itself.
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