Other Titles • Kiss of the Spider Woman • Beijo da Mulher Aranha, O (1985) • • O Beijo da Mulher Aranha
Synopses for Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
Hector Babenco's Oscar-nominated drama, adapted from Manuel Puig's novel and set in an unspecified Latin American country, takes a penetrating look at the role of entertainment in a politically oppressive regime. When activist Valentin (Raul Julia) is tossed in a cell, already beaten and tortured by prison guards anxious to get information out of him, he ends up sharing the space with Molina (William Hurt), a homosexual deeply engaged with popular culture--especially the movies. The two men have widely divergent views of life: while the leftist Valentin strives to bring forth a revolution, Molina buries himself in elaborate fantasies taken directly from the cinema. In particular, he relates two fanciful narratives--one a Nazi melodrama, the other an escapist fable about a glamorous "spider woman" (Sonia Braga), harkening back to the glory days of film noir and murderous femme fatales. The impatient and dedicated Valentin tries to raise his cellmate's conscience, and gradually the two men come together and, in a stunning and shocking conclusion, each one truly learns to put himself in the other's place. Hurt delivers an Oscar-winning performance in this captivating tribute to the power of film and fantasy as an escape from inhumane conditions.
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