Monday, August 11, 2008

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Though not the first title in my movie collection, I can think of no better way to kick off this blog than with one of my all-time favorite films, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. This 1994 Australian film stars Hugo Weaving, Terence Stamp, and Guy Pearce as drag queens on their way from Sydney to Alice Springs in a bus dubbed Priscilla.

A Cock in a Frock on a Rock, Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Guy Pearce, Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving
For shear camp value, this film belongs in anyone's DVD collection. It manages to capture a certain kind of campy drag that I love. The characters exchange bitchy barbs,1 and wander around in Academy Award winning dresses. This is only enhanced by the film's awesome soundtrack which prominently features a few of my favorite ABBA songs as well as some disco classics.

At it's heart, this is a road movie about a group of misfits who make their way through a terrain that's inhospitable to them. In the end they discover the degree to which they need each other and that acceptance, though hard to find can be located in unexpected places. It's characters are likable thanks in large part to a talented cast and sharp dialogue.

Finally, this film deserves points based on bravery. In 1994, films about gay men were largely absent from the big screen, aside from AIDS films that rarely left gay circles. This plucky Australian camp-fest managed to make a larger splash with characters who lead somewhat happy lives and don't die in the end.2

Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Felicia: Well, ever since I was a lad, I've had this dream, a dream that I now--finally--have a chance to fulfill.... To travel to the center of Australia, climb King's Canyon--as a queen--in a full-length Gautier sequin, heels and a tiara.
Bernadette: Great. That's just what this country needs: a cock in a frock on a rock.



Notes:
1. e.g., Bernadette: Now listen here, you mullet. Why don't you just light your tampon, and blow your box apart? Because it's the only bang you're ever gonna get, sweetheart!
2. I'm looking at you, Philadelphia.

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