QUEEN OF IRELAND, THE
Documentary about the life of Irish drag queen Panti Bliss and the campaign for same sex marriage in Ireland - the first in the world to vote YES.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The Queen of Ireland is a snap history of Ireland's acceptance of homosexuality and the eventual legalization of gay marriage, fused with the abridged biography of the very persuasive Rory O'Neill. Although there is nothing especially new in its exploration of homosexuality or drag culture, it is a well paced and entertaining work, celebrating, well, Rory aka Panti Bliss and the impact she/he had on Irish society and its recognition of homosexuality as part of society.
Of course it's highly theatrical, a natural result of its subject matter, the world of drag queens who are queentessentially larger than life, or at least larger than straight women. The glamorous gowns, the huge hair, the masquerade make up and the ultra feminine body language are vivid ingredients, usually topped off with glitter and wild accessories. What's not to like?
Deep down, of course, Panti Bliss is a sensitive, intelligent young man from small town Ballinrobe who is doing what he wants and entertaining thousands of people in the process. Ireland has come out, having put behind it the ghastly gay bashings of just a couple of decades ago, and with the legalization of gay marriage, Irish gays could become just like other ordinary Irish couples. The fringe has become the mainstream. Except there is the problem of HIV - and when do you tell your prospective date. As Rory explains, it's like coming out every time.
But these and other more serious issues are openly discussed in the film, adding context, texture and relevance to what otherwise might have been a mere novelty item of limited value (with a slightly dragged out third section, pardon the pun). For gays, it's inspiring, for the whole of society it's insightful and revealing. And mostly fun.
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QUEEN OF IRELAND, THE (PG)
CAST: Documentary featuring Rory O'Neill aka Panti Bliss
PRODUCER: Katie Holly, Ailish Bracken
DIRECTOR: Conor Horgan
SCRIPT: Philip McMahon, Conor Horgan
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Kate McCullogh
EDITOR: Mick Mahon
MUSIC: Michael Fleming
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ferdia Murphy
RUNNING TIME: 82 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Transmission
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 8, 2016