Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994): review: 7/10

Road movie in which three transvestite performers drive from Sydney to Alice Springs, to perform at a hotel there.

The elder of the trio has had a sex change- operation, the next has a child and wife with whom he meets for the first time, the younger is of little real interest. At one point their bus breaks down: the elder begins an unlikely relationship with their car machanic whose Thai wife, famed in the community for shooting ping pong balls from her vagina has left him.

The film contains many one-liners- these are rarely funny. The film's principle energies come from the contrast between generally unsophisticated mining communities and the performers. The male dominated bars are essentiallly chauvenistic institutions, and predicatably, their cleintele are provoked by the performers. In the film, transvestitism is a creative liberation from the limitations of  masculinity: both the rough masculinity of the miners, and the middle class suburban masculinity of the suburbs- as depicted in flashbacks. The characterisation is not very deep, but it is deep enough to sustain the film.

The Australian landscapes are thrilling.

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