Following the emergence of the Australian New Wave in the 1970s and ’80s, Australian cinema began to gain more global traction in the ’90s, thanks to cross-cultural successes like Strictly Ballroom, Babe, Shine, and Stephen Elliott’s quirky drag-queen road picture The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert. Starring Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, and Terence Stamp as two drag queens and a transgender woman, respectively, Priscilla follows the trio in a tour bus (that would be Priscilla) across the Australian Outback, as they journey to a remote central-Australian town for a four-week engagement. In keeping with road-movie traditions, they meet many a colorful character along the way, though it’s hard to find characters more colorful and engaging than the central trio (and their pink bus), particularly Stamp’s Bernadette, who brings some gravitas to the camp-fueled shenanigans that make up most of the movie. A cult film of the highest order, Priscilla was remade/blatantly ripped off just a year later as the just-okay American production To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar, which retained its predecessor's conceit, structure, and cumbersome title, but little of its warmth or charm. While some of Priscilla’s gender and racial politics don’t stand up to intense scrutiny some two decades later, the film itself is an easy, breezy watch with just enough soul to give it some weight—and lots of fun, lip-synched musical numbers to boot. It airs tonight on Indieplex at 9 p.m Eastern.
March 19, 2015 Cable Pick Of The Day