La Cage aux Folles is a French farcical comedy set in San Tropez. A funny and touching love story, the film is about a gay couple, Renato Baldi (Ugo Tognazzi) and Albin Mougeotte (Michel Serrault). Renato owns and manages a nightclub which features drag artistes. Albin in his stage persona as Zaza is the star attraction.
The trouble begins when Renato’s son Laurent (Remi Laurent) brings his fiancé Andrea (Luisa Maneri) home to meet them and also invites Andrea’s highly conservative parents. In order to please Laurent and help him to impress his future in-laws, the couple agree to hide the nature of their relationship and the fact that they own the downstairs nightclub. However it is clear early on that this is fraught with difficulties due to their flamboyant nature, in particular that of ‘high maintenance’ Albin, so Albin comes up with a plan to dress in drag and pose as Renato’s wife. The plan does not go quite as expected, with often hilarious results.
The theme of the film centres on the importance of not conforming and being true to oneself.
“This is basically the first sitcom in drag, and the comic turns in the plot are achieved with such clockwork timing that sometimes we’re laughing at what’s funny and sometimes we’re just laughing at the movie’s sheer comic invention. ”
“An international comedy sensation based on a successful French stage play.”
— Vincent Canby, The New York Times
“What could have turned out to be a case of “too many cooks in the kitchen” actually gives the film a refreshing range of comedic devices, as the film delights in sight gags, sly one-liners, deadpan reactions, physical humour, and tawdry burlesque without feeling scatterbrained or indecisive.”
— Chris Cabin, Slant Magazine
Did You Know?
The Broadway musical based on the movie version of La Cage aux Folles opened in 1983 at the Palace Theatre and won the 1984 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Book and Score. I am what I am, is the show-stopping song from the Broadway version. Review our Gay Themed Films here