Australian Elvis fans treated to new movie, new exhibition

By AG STAFF 25 May 2022
Reading Time: 2 Minutes Print this page
When it comes to Australian culture, this country has an ongoing and inexplicably profound connection to the USA’s ‘King of Rock and Roll’, Elvis Presley.

So ingrained is the American icon in Australian culture that the only official Elvis memorial outside of the United States is here in Victoria.

The Elvis Presley Memorial Garden within Melbourne General Cemetery, Parkville, is an elaborate and slightly kitschy tribute commissioned in 1977 by the then president of the singer’s official Australian fan club.

The memorial is celebrated in a collection of photographs (one shown above) shot by the late Australian photographer, Polixeni Papapetrou, entitled Elvis Immortal.

The images show Elvis fans visiting the memorial on the anniversary of the star’s death throughout the years 1987 to 1993.

The movie

A still image from the film, Elvis, showing Elvis (Austin Butler) with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). Image credit: Sydney Film Festival

The latest movie about The King, as he was known, a biopic simply entitled Elvis was shot on the Gold Coast by award-winning Australian director Baz Luhrmann during 2020–21, providing a much-needed economic spark during the pandemic to southern Queensland and the Australian film industry. 

Elvis will screen at Sydney’s State Theatre on June 15 as part of this year’s Sydney Film Festival.

On the same night the festival will also screen the National Film & Sound Archive’s brand-new restoration of Strictly Ballroom.

“Being able to present Luhrmann’s latest film direct from Cannes, while also screening the restored version of his directorial debut is an exciting coup for the Festival,” says Sydney Film Festival director, Nashen Moodley.

The exhibition

Elvis Presley. Photo credit: Mary Evans Picture Library

Coinciding with the film’s release is an exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery, entitled Elvis: Direct from Graceland.

Created in partnership with the singer’s estate, the exhibition (exclusive to Bendigo Art Gallery) celebrates Elvis’ extraordinary fashion and style, featuring costume pieces, iconic outfits, vintage memorabilia, and household items from his Graceland home.