Watching Movies with Kareem Tabsch: ‘The Birdcage’ (1996)

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Join filmmaker and O Cinema co-founder Kareem Tabsch and Bill Cosford Cinema manager, Rene Rodriguez, for a screening of Mike Nichols 1996 comedy “The Birdcage” followed by a Q&A in-person discussion with Tabsch.

Kareem Tabsch is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker whose work focuses on documenting that which exists on the fringes of mainstream society. His feature films include “Mucho Mucho Amor” (2020) and “The Last Resort” (2018) and the short film “Dolphin Lover” (2015).

Tabsch’s work has been included at prestigious festivals like Sundance, SXSW, and HotDocs, and has been featured in outlets like The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and NPR among others.

In 2020, Tabsch’s film “Mucho Mucho Amor” was named one of the 20 essential Latino Films by The New York Times. It was nominated for Emmy, GLADD, and Imagen Awards and was named Best Latinx Film by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. He was named a ’40 under 40′ documentary filmmaker by DocNYC, America’s largest documentary film festival.

In 2011, Tabsch co-founded the long-running O Cinema non-profit arthouse theater chain with Vivian Marthell.

Tabsch is a first-generation American of Latino and Middle Eastern descent. Rush Limbaugh once said his work was contributing to the decay of American Society.

THE BIRDCAGE | 1996 | DIRECTOR: Mike Nichols | WITH: Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, Hank Azaria, Calista Flockhart | RUNNING TIME: 1 HOUR 57 MINUTES | RATED R for adult language.

Mike Nichols (“The Graduate”) directed Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in this Hollywood remake of 1978’s foreign-language hit “La Cage aux Folles,” a comedy about an openly gay couple trying to pass off as straight in order to please the ultra-conservative parents of their son’s fiancee. Shot largely on location in South Beach.

“Remakes don’t get much better than Mike Nichols’s “The Birdcage,” which embraced drag shows long before they became the height of cool, and more unsettlingly, another casualty of the rising tide of fascism. The movie’s entire pivot point is the marriage in everything but name between Armand (the much-missed Robin Williams) and Albert (Nathan Lane), the former of whom is the owner of the drag club where the latter is star performer Starina.

“Their relationship is tested when their son Val (Dan Futterman) announces his marriage to Barbara (Calista Flockhart, in one of her first roles), the daughter of a Republican politician, and Armand and Albert attempt to pass as respectable straights. The result is a satire so subversive that audiences willingly laughed at many of their most sacred cows, including marriage, politics, sexism, homophobia, and the traditional family itself.” — Andrea Thompson, Chicago Reader

Tickets are $10 and are available via the link. UM students use code UMSTUDENT for free admission (must show Cane Card at the door).