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November 1994, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 23 Nov 1994 13:58:55 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
RE: Priscilla
Errol Vieth says:
>The feeling on leaving the theatre was that there were no easy answers.
>The film made no statement about political correctness, about how it was
>good to be gay, or a transsexual, or a cross-dresser.  If anything, people
>were very much the same in their hopes and dreams, and frustrations.  They
>dealt with their problems in inadequate, yet ways that were represented as
>_human_.  I guess the only bit that might be regarded as a bit of preaching
>was the episode of the son, who accepted everyone no matter what their
>level of queerdom.
>So too the mandatory scene of the Oz equivalent of the rednecks in the pub.
>The _poofter-bashing_ continues, but he/she was a fool to go there anyway.
>Interestingly, we need no Robocop to shoot the assaulter's testicles off;
>just a post-op transsexual.  Quite capable of doing a good job, thank you
>very much.
Don't you think its a little problematic that a film which is so utopian
about tolerance (the son is perfect because he is so accepting of all
difference) makes it points by 1) creating homosocial links at the expense of
the woman in the pub and 2) by its misogynist and racist treatment of the "mail
order" bride??
The transsexual wins the approval of the men in the pub by cutting down the
woman truck driver (who is something of a local celeb; there was a Tv
documentary about her) the assumption here being that as long as you
can be mean to her we don't mind that you're queer.  The homosocial links
between men against women are used to overcome homophobia and panic.
The episode with the Asian woman, which frees
Bill Hunter's character to join them also seems really repellant to me.
Why do we need this?  To prove that while some may be able to perform gender
others are simply trapped?  What's the deal with the ping pong balls?
Not sure what to make of the scene with the Aboriginals... seesm more in
line with the utopian promise, or at least recognizes that there are different
kinds of outsiders who might be able to find some way to connect, but
in context of scene with Asian woman, I'm uncertain how to read it.
>The question must be asked:  To what extent did this film, or _Muriel's
>Wedding_, recreate the frightening interest in ABBA!!  For that alone the
>films stand convicted.
Scarily enough they seem to be reflecting a trend already in full swing,
not creating one.  Bjorn Again and other ABBA lipsynch and impersonation groups
are and have been big in Sydney for a while.
Pam Robertson
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