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The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Finally, a comedy that will change the way you think, the way you feel, and most importantly... the way you dress.  

Year: 1994 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Priscilla is the story of Anthony Belrose (Weaving), a drag performer in Sydney under the name Mitzi Del Bra. One day, he gets a phone call from an old friend and lands a gig at a large casino/nightclub in Alice Springs. He recruits fellow performers Adam Whitely (Pearce), aka Felicia Jollygoodfellow, and Bernadette Bassenger (Stamp) a postoperative transsexual who recently lost her lover. They decide to drive to their destination and Adam produces a bus, which he immediately christens 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'. In the tradition of all good road movies, the trip does not go exactly as planned with off road detours involving groups of Aborigines, a small town mechanic with a rather special mail-order bride, and a bunch of drunken miners, to name but a few.

Throughout the trip, the guys appear in wilder and wilder drag outfits, much to the consternation of the residents of the outback with whom they come in contact. By the time our heroes stand, as queens, on the edge of Kings Canyon, there's nothing to do but laugh with shear delight at each new eye popping costume.

The film avoids the trap of making the trio freaks (as often happens in movies about gay men, especially the transvestite variety). Instead, we get to know them as humans, for whom drag is a natural expression of who they are. The three central performances are all excellent, especially Terence Stamp as the world weary Bernadette.  However, Anthony is the emotional centre of the film and it is his journey of self discovery; as he learns to accept and love himself (and it's possibly the only chance you'll get to see Agent Smith in a dress, unless the Wachowskis have something very strange in store for The Matrix Revolutions).

All in all it's one of the funniest and most successful Australian films of all time, well worth coming to see on the big screen.

Percival Tucker

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Screenings of this film:

1994/1995 Summer Term (35mm)
1994/1995 Summer Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)