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Drag scene fascinates French

Wednesday, 13th February, 2019

Palace Hotel managing director Esther La Rovere with cameraman Charles Meyer and director Emma Piesse. PICTURE: Myles Burt Palace Hotel managing director Esther La Rovere with cameraman Charles Meyer and director Emma Piesse. PICTURE: Myles Burt

By Myles Burt

A Franco-German documentary crew has travelled to Broken Hill to examine the inspiration behind “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”. 

The crew is from a European media channel called ‘ARTE’ based in the French town of Strasbourg on the German border. 

They are filming for their program ‘Invitation au Voyage’, which focuses on travel along the themes of inspiration and heritage and wanted to know why director Stephan Elliott decided to create the cult classic film, some of which was shot in the Palace and the All Nations hotels.

“The whole segment will start with the Mardi Gras when Stephan Elliott said ‘I saw a feather from somebody’s tiara headdress had fallen out and was going across the road like a Sergio Leone western’,” said the documentary’s director and journalist Emma Piesse.

“With that he suddenly saw his film. Here we’re trying to find out why Stephan chose particularly here,” she said.

“You can imagine him coming out here with his crew and being ‘wow, this is the first step into the outback.’

“What a wonderful start to see three drag queens putting their toes on the soil and having seen their reactions.

“As (Palace Hotel managing director) Esther said, the reactions were from the community and they didn’t even have to call for extras. It was just a natural setup of people looking aghast.”

Priscilla Queen of the Desert captivated audiences abroad, including Ms Piesse.

“For myself, who’s lived in Paris for 30 years but is from England, it was a film that really inspired me and fascinated me,” she said.

“Talking about the drag queen scene and why it’s so particularly Australian, this love of camp, which is more so than in France, more so than in other European countries.

“I don’t know why there’s camp here, but what I love more than the colour and everything is the way they can be very quick witted.

“That was a big thing of Priscilla, the biting tongues.”

The ARTE film crew were in Broken Hill yesterday, shooting scenes around the city with The Palace Hotel’s Esther La Rovere.

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