Metro Weekly

The Birdcage screens during Pride month to celebrate 25th anniversary

Classic gay comedy screens June 27-29 at area theaters

The Birdcage
The Birdcage

“What The Birdcage really did is make gay campiness accessible to the mainstream,” we wrote about the 1996 Hollywood blockbuster in our “13 Camp Films Everyone Should See” lineup. “There’s Hank Azaria as houseboy Agador in all his resplendent ‘Guatemalanness,’ the Grecian dinnerware with a motif of sodomy that could possibly have been interpreted as boys and men playing leapfrog. And there are the placebo ‘pirin’ tablets — aspirin with the ‘a’ and ‘s’ scratched off — to help Nathan Lane’s Albert calm his nerves.” Add to that the wink-wink wryness of Lane playing gay and donning drag a few years before he officially came out.

In our original 2009 feature “25 Gay Films Everyone Should See,” we trumpeted Édouard Molinaro’s 1978 cinematic adaptation of La Cage aux Folles as “one of the funniest films in the history of all cinema.”

While admittedly The Birdcage does not meet that high bar, Mike Nichols’ adaptation is nonetheless a worthy entry in the 7th annual series of “cinematic masterworks” from Turner Classic Movies. (Pro tip: See the film and then take a deeper dive into the late filmmaker’s influential life and career by reading the acclaimed new biography Mike Nichols: A Life by Mark Harris, the celebrated author and writer who is married to another cultural heavyweight, Tony Kushner.)

Presented in partnership with Fathom Events, The Birdcage is celebrated as the Pride month selection in honor of the comedy’s 25th anniversary. This year’s lineup also includes anniversary screenings of The African Queen in July, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory in August, Citizen Kane in September, The Silence of the Lambs in October, West Side Story in November, and On Golden Pond in December.

“This year has shown us that watching movies on the big screen is not an experience to take for granted, and 2021’s lineup of films has something for every movie lover,” says TCM’s Genevieve McGillicuddy in an official statement.

All films in the series are presented with digital projection in their original aspect ratio and with movie-theater-quality sound, and further enhanced with pre- and post-screening recorded insights by TCM Primetime Host Ben Mankiewicz and others.

The Birdcage plays Sunday, June 27, at 3 and 7 p.m., and Monday, June 28, and Tuesday, June 29, at 7 p.m. Area theaters including Regal venues at Gallery Place (701 7th St. NW), Ballston Quarter (671 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington), and Regal’s Majestic (900 Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring). Visit www.fathomevents.com.

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