U.S., 1995, 131 min, 35mm, Dir. Paul Verhoeven, Rated NC-17, Park Circus
“Glittery and gleefully vulgar.” —Dayton Daily News
“Spectacularly trashy. —Entertainment Weekly
This screening includes an introduction by Flaming Classics and a live drag performance by Sin Silva before the feature.
Running from a troubled past and possessed of a raw and riveting dancing talent, Nomi Malone is soon introduced to the arena of the sensual, pulsating stage shows on the legendary Strip and the powerful men and women who run them. It's a world of passion, power and personal moral choices where everything–and everyone–has a price.
It’s hard for me to say the words “Showgirls is one of my favorite films of all time” without someone immediately assuming I’m joking. People think it’s simply a guilty pleasure, or something I watch to make fun of, an expectation brought on by one of the most damning phrases in cinema: “So bad it’s good.”
Much like Adam Nayman, who wrote a defense titled It Doesn’t Suck, I am the kind of person who will live and die by the fact that Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls is a bonafide masterpiece, much like many of the man’s films, from Basic Instinct to Elle (some of which I am even planning on tattooing on my body). It is, no doubt, an absurd motion picture that embraces excess in every single capacity–from loud performances and ridiculous dialogue to an abundance of nudity and scathing satire–but is that not to be expected from a duo as sharp and wild as Verhoeven and writer Joe Eszterhaz?
Its camp factor has become something of a myth around the film, creating drinking games, mocking commentary screenings, and a sense of shame for anyone who loves it. Laugh all you want (as some of it is certainly intentionally hilarious), but don’t mistake it for trash. It’s a dark motion picture that gets into the underbelly of how women are exploited (and, be warned, there are a few rough scenes) while also being a delicious update of All About Eve set in Las Vegas. Showgirls is cinema at its finest and, thankfully, people are starting to realize that. That we get to see it on film just like they did upon its release is its own treasure.
- Juan Barquin
Note: To cover additional costs associated with showing the film on 35mm, tickets for this screening are $14.75 ($11.00 for cinema members and only $5.00 for After Hours members).
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.