Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Movie Name: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Year of Release: 1994
Director: Stephan Elliott
Stars: Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, Bill Hunter, Sarah Chadwick, Mark Holmes, Ken Radley, John Casey
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

"The Adventures or Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" premiered at the Cannes film festival in 1994, and has since then become a cult classic in the comedy genre (and went on to win an Academy Award for best Costume Design). The film follows the story of a trio of Australian friends who decide to cross the country from Sydney to Alice Springs, in order to perform in a show they were contracted to do, in a bus they have bought and converted. The colorful trio is composed of two transvestites and a transsexual, and all three of them have issues with past relationships, that they are all trying to patch up, one way or the other. During their trip, their bus (named Priscilla), suffers some mechanical issues, and they are forced to find assistance in a small town, where the local mechanic Bob, is familiar with the drag shows from Sydney (and welcomes them effusively). The trip is equally peppered by the relationships between these three very different personalities. 
"The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" was Stephan Elliott's second feature (following "Frauds" which featured Phil Collins and Hugo Weaving), but the director smartly creates a road-trip story anchored in the relationships of these flamboyant friends who expose the homophobia and fear that lies in the small towns they drive by. The film also allows for the three main personalities to be fully developed and showcase more than just one side to these men - they are more than just archetypes, these are characters with ambitions, depth and a unique sense of style. The director is playful with the sense of gender and identity, and also ties the story very accordingly with a lesson of tolerance and acceptance. The performances are fantastic, with Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce all creating memorable and hilarious characters. A very good film always worth revisiting.