Thu, Jun 13

Written & Directed by Stephan Elliott (1994); Cast: Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving; R; 102 min.

25 years ago the usually menacing British actor Terence Stamp did a complete turnaround as Bernadette, an aging transsexual who tours the backwaters of Australia with her stage partners, Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) and Adam/Felicia (Guy Pearce). The film was a critical success based on Stamps performance and the generosity and gorgeousness with which Aussie writer-director Stephan Elliott turned this most unlikely road picture into something arresting. Their act, well-known in Sydney, involves wearing lots of makeup and gowns and lip-synching to records, but Bernadette is getting a bit tired of it all and is also haunted by the bizarre death of an old loved one. Nevertheless, when Mitzi and Felicia get an offer to perform in the remote town of Alice Springs at a casino, Bernadette decides to tag along. The threesome ventures into the outback with Priscilla, a lavender-colored school bus that doubles as dressing room and home on the road. Along the way, the act encounters any number of strange characters, as well as incidents of homophobia, while Bernadette becomes increasingly concerned about the path her life has taken. “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert presents a defiant culture clash in generous, warmly entertaining ways. For all its glitter, this is the sort of film in which everyone becomes happier and nicer by the final reel.” — Janet Maslin, New York Times