U.S., 1992, 103 min, DCP, Dir. Robert Zemeckis, Rated PG-13, Universal Pictures
Death Becomes Her
Saturday, July 23
“Death Becomes Her is clever, different and dementedly entertaining, while commenting on our unhealthy obsession with youth and beauty.” —Jeff Menell, Hollywood Reporter
“Zemeckis has always relished technical challenges; once again he pulls them off with high style.” —David Ansen, Newsweek
This screening includes an introduction by Flaming Classics and a live drag performance by Opal Am Rah and Persephone Von Lips before the feature.
Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn co-star with Bruce Willis in Robert Zemeckis' outrageously entertaining comedy about greed, vanity, sex, immortality, life... and death. Isabella Rossellini is a beautiful enchantress who changes their lives–and deaths–forever in this hilarious dark comedy with Academy Award-winning special effects.
I think about Death Becomes Her all the time (it is a toss-up for my favorite Robert Zemeckis film alongside Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Contact). Like many of the director’s films, there’s an almost live-action Looney Tunes quality about it. After all, what other motion picture would have Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn increasingly destroying each other’s bodies in the most ridiculous ways (including blowing a literal hole in someone’s stomach and twisting a head round-and-round)?
Death Becomes Her is a high camp motion picture in every way, particularly in the way its characters are all in something of a drag performance. Streep and Hawn are less real characters and more a grotesque distortion of womanhood, shamelessly playing into and poking fun at the myriad of ways women are perceived by men as conniving, petty, and vain (beautifully emphasized with Bruce Willis cast against type as the antithesis of masculinity and Isabella Rossellini as the peak of femininity). It’s as hilarious and quotable as it is dark and disturbed, which is exactly what a good motion picture should be in my book.
- Juan Barquin
This July at After Hours, Flaming Classics invites you to dive into the aesthetics of camp with a program of favorite films inspired by a nostalgia for the 1990s.
A note from Brenda Moe
In Exhibition With is my series where I invite a friend to build a film program for our audience. If you know the Miami cinema scene, you know Flaming Classics, the curated film series that pairs classic films from the queer canon with live performances. Flaming Classics is masterfully led by Juan Barquin and Trae DeLellis, both crucial voices in film and cinema. Reading their works is a masterclass in film history and cinema appreciation. Although familiar with Flaming Classics for years, I first met Juan in mid-2021 and immediately wanted to find ways to work together. I conceived of this program in part to make that happen. As the former creative director at Bill Cosford Cinema, Trae has been on my professional radar, which makes this program exciting and meaningful. I'm thrilled to welcome you to Summer Camp Redux!
A note from Flaming Classics
Upon being invited to take part in Coral Gables Art Cinema’s new In Exhibition With series, we couldn’t help but think back on our first program, Summer Camp, and the colorful collection of films we showcased with it. As such, we wanted to revisit this series through Summer Camp Redux: an expansion of our past series that dives into the aesthetics of camp (and the malleability of how we define it), this time particularly inspired by a nostalgia for the 1990s. These are favorite films discovered during our adolescence, consumed endlessly on VHS until the tapes wore out, now being screened for old audiences to revisit and new audiences to discover.
One of the driving forces of Flaming Classics was to create unique event screenings, prompted by our discovery that we had only ever watched many of our favorite films alone or in small groups, rather than the pleasure of experiencing them with a collective audience. We wanted to challenge the casual convenience and consumption of “content” offered by the streaming revolution, foregrounding the theatrical experience, seeing the excess of these camp classics on the big screen with surround sound, and getting to laugh and scream with everyone alongside us.
In addition to sharing these films as a community, we are pleased to give them a Flaming Classics spin. Each feature will be accompanied with an introduction foregrounding the film, its production, legacy, and queer elements, along with a commissioned essay by celebrated queer critics. And, as is our tradition, we will be inviting local performers to celebrate and recontextualize each film through their unique prism of drag before each feature.
The selected films all represent varying takes on camp during the 1990s. Some were instant hits while others were flops that have taken decades to become cult classics, but today, they are and will forever remain timeless treasures that have, in a very weird way, defined a generation. Join us, won’t you?
Click above to read program notes.
Check out the rest of our In Exhibition With: Flaming Classics - Summer Camp Redux program!