La Cage aux Folles (1978)

Directed by Edouard Molinaro. Written by Francis Veber, Edouard Molinaro, Marcello Danon, and Jean Poiret based on the play by Jean Poiret. Starring Ugo Tognazzi, Michel Serrault, and Claire Maurier.

La Cage aux Folles is an extremely likable and campy romp with exaggerated performances and brilliantly timed physical comedy. At times, there is something mildly off-putting about exploiting drag stereotypes for humor, and it seems as though the audience is meant to be amused, surprised, and ultimately endeared by how completely “normal” this gay couple is, in which one man so clearly plays the role of the “wife” and the other plays the role of the husband. I felt that Albin’s shrieking falsetto was overdone at times, although for the most part I enjoyed the film’s irreverent excess. The film ultimately redeems itself sociopolitically by presenting the heteronormative life of Andrea’s parents as its own kind of drag, which Renato and Albin manage to perform with some success by imitating certain gendered stereotypes. But more importantly, it features a well-written script with indelible characters.

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~ by Daniel N. Goldberg on June 6, 2011.

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