Who would have thought, back in 1994, that an independent Australian film about three LGBT performers on a road trip from Sydney to Alice Springs would go on to become an essential part of the nation’s popular culture? Or that its characters’ journey of self-expression and longing for respect and acceptance would sadly still be a relevant issue 20 years later, instead of just a reminder of less enlightened times?
It could be its defiance of our nation’s cultural cringe – embracing and celebrating, deconstructing and amplifying elements of Australian culture – or perhaps its representation of subcultures in a way that made them non-threatening to mainstream audiences? There are so many things to love about [legacy-smartlink:The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert]!
That’s why on 28 February 2014, the NFSA celebrated the 20th anniversary of Priscilla with a sold out six-hour extravaganza including a Q&A with Academy Award-winning costume designer Tim Chappel, a free exhibition of original costumes, posters and documents from the film, a session of Tranny Bingo (with Penny Tration and Minnie Cooper), and an outdoor screening of Priscilla.
The exhibition gave the audience an opportunity to see some of the costumes up close (including the surviving elements of the emu dresses, and a couple of feather headdresses), a selection of posters including the stunning and minimalistic Polish version, and never-before-seen documents related to the film’s financing and production.