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ALMOST ELVIS

USA, 2002 (MIFF 2002, Documentaries)

Director: John Paget

'Images of Elvis', the pinnacle of the Elvis impersonator's art, a cutthroat competition staged in Memphis to determine the worlds finest 'Elvis' (almost). This cheeky documentary, loaded with pathos, plumbs the dedication, desire and devotion of Elvis fandom, specifically a half dozen impersonators hungry for the spotlight.

Irv Cass, hot favourite, has come runner-up in 'Images of Elvis' twice. He's determined to make it third time lucky or hang-up his jumpsuit. The competition is fierce... and peculiar. Quentin Flagg, child Elvis, a paperboy by day, 'The King' by night. Doug Church, playboy Elvis who owes his charm to a pair of stick-on sideburns he keeps in a special case. Robert Washington, this year's only black Elvis (although there are a number of Japanese Elvises and Ginger, lady Elvis!)

Working through cosmetic surgery, outrageously expensive costumes, blue suede shoes and bad Karate moves, the contestants circle for the final showdown and the title of America's No. 1 hunk-a hunk-a burnin' love.

John Paget is the award-winning director of several critically acclaimed documentaries with a keen interest in American pop culture. His works include Route 66: An American Odyssey (1995), Oldest Feathered Friend (1996) and Piano for Quitters (1996).

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