Friday, August 19, 2011

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, a movie review

Browsing the shelves of DVDs at the library I recall seeing this one before and passing on it; not interested. I had quite enough of real drag queens back in my cab driving days in Chicago. I had driven cab nights during that whole period when gays were coming out and gay pride was real and flaming fags were the order of the day.

My parents were relatively enlightened and had been pretty careful to raise me without prejudice, to not judge others by the color of their skin, etc. The issue of sexual orientation really did not come up, but the same principle applies. I had to really work to reach a point of neutrality with these folks back in the day. I had to overcome an natural aversion to the lifestyle. Fortunately I knew to see someone as Soul no matter how strange their presentation.

Then a few weeks ago my first date with someone I had met online turned out to be transgendered. She was wise enough to reveal this only after an hour together, preceded by the challenge, “Now I'm going to see how open minded you are.”

All this is the back story that caused me to finally pick up a copy of this movie, bring it home and watch it and now review it for you.

The movie's three main characters are two drag queens and a transsexual who perform an outrageous act in Sydney Australia where they lip sync to popular songs and do a dance routine in flamboyant costumes. In fact the costumes in this movie won an Oscar; they are amazing.

They are given the opportunity to perform in Alice Springs and decide to accept. So this is a road movie, as we follow the trio across the outback in a bus they bought and converted into a rolling boudoir.

Gotta hand it to the Aussies, they handle this subject with maturity and panache. Terence Stamp plays the oldest of the three, a sarcastic transsexual who has seen it all. All three have plenty of anger in them which usually gets expressed as sarcasm and an over-the-top gaiety.

You quickly see how difficult life can be for them as they are so shockingly different from most people that ordinary people just can't handle them. Because performance is their calling and their way of surviving, you never see them hide their identities. They are always screaming fags and proud of it.

So there is plenty of action and adventure in this movie and it is quite entertaining and surprisingly poignant. You get to know these people and like them and even understand them a bit.

Its a worthwhile journey, eye-opening and fun. Keep an open mind! Recommended!

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