Swinging Safari


Contemporary World Cinema | 2018 | 97 minutes

Stranger Says: Few countries have a knack for tales of the tacky quite like Australia, and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert director Stephan Elliott’s semiautobiographical outing is an explosion of polyester and lacquered hair. In Wonder Years–style voice-over, an adult Jeff Marsh remembers a 1970s summer dominated by the Jones family—including love interest Melly—on one side, and the Halls on the other. A screening of Jaws spurs him to become a filmmaker, and his Super 8 films punctuate the action. If it starts from a place of fun, the vibe in the cul-de-sac turns as rotten as a beached whale after the adults indulge in a key party. There’s a lesson here about the limits of permissive parenting, but it’s mostly a Martin Parr–like evocation of a cartoonishly narcissistic time. (KATHY FENNESSY)

SIFF Says: You think the ’70s were sybaritic and self-indulgent in America? Apparently this was a nunnery compared to Australia, or so suggests Stephan Elliott’s colorfully crass look back at the loose parenting of the Decade of Decadence.


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Film Credits
Stephan Elliott
Guy Pearce, Kylie Minogue, Radha Mitchell, Julian McMahon, Asher Keddie, Jeremy Sims
SIFF 2019