Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
France/Italy, 1978. Da Ma Produzione, Les Productions Artistes Associés. Screenplay by Francis Veber, Edouard Molinaro, Marcello Danon, Jean Poiret, based on the play by Jean Poiret. Cinematography by Armando Nannuzzi. Produced by Marcello Danon. Music by Ennio Morricone. Production Design by Mario Garbuglia. Costume Design by Ambra Danon. Film Editing by Monique Isnardon, Robert Isnardon.
A gay couple who own a drag cabaret in St. Tropez are pleased when their son comes home for a visit and announces that he is soon to be married. Their delight turns to disappointment, however, when he informs them that his fiancee’s family is very conservative and wouldn’t appreciate their “lifestyle”, prompting them to straighten themselves out as much as possible out of love for their son. When the in-laws arrive, all sorts of complications occur, the end result proving that when it comes to family, nothing is more important than being yourself. Edouard Molinaro’s deservedly popular film was the most successful foreign-language film to be released in North America at the time (and still remains up there), and is a brilliantly witty satire of homophobia as well as being a hysterical comedy. Michel Serrault steals the show as the groom-to-be’s stepfather, and he and Ugo Tognazzi reprised their roles in the film’s unfortunate sequels. An American remake, which retained all the comedy but lost most of the soul, was made in 1996 as The Birdcage starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.
The Criterion Collection: #671
Academy Award Nominations: Best Director (Edouard Molinaro); Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Costume Design
Golden Globe Award: Best Foreign Language Film