Luis Molina and Valentin Arregui are cell mates in a South American prison. Luis, a trans individual, is found guilty of immoral behavior and Valentin is a political prisoner. To escape reality Luis invents romantic movies, while Valentin tries to keep his mind on the situation he's in. During the time they spend together, the two men come to understand and respect one another. Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
During rehearsals, the two actors had trouble finding the chemistry they needed for their scenes together. To better understand what each needed from the other's role, William Hurt suggested they try an experiment where they would switch roles, with Hurt as Valentin and Raul Julia as Molina. The role-switching rehearsal went so well that Hurt initially suggested to director Hector Babenco that they should switch parts for the film as well. Obviously, the switch did not occur, but Hurt states that it was a very useful experiment in helping them more fully understand their own characters. See more »
She's... well, she's something a little strange. That's what she noticed, that she's not a woman like all the others. She seems all wrapped up in herself. Lost in a world she carries deep inside her.
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Slow-paced but amazingly compelling and moving drama, mainly set in the filthy prison cell of a never-named Latin American dictatorship country. It is here that the flamboyant homosexual Molina shares his escape-fantasies with the idealistic (but heterosexual) revolutionary warrior Valentin. The stories they tell, either coming from Molina's vivid imagination or from Valentin's struggling past, all feature a similar woman. This primarily Brazilian film is a quintessential piece of artwork. No wild car-chases, gunfights or steamy sex sequences here but you'll be fascinated by the strong dialogs, the mesmerizing acting performances and the professional directing skills of Hector Babenco. The growing relationship between the two opposite protagonists is masterfully illustrated and the depressing set-pieces only increase your sympathy for the both of them. "Kiss of the Spider Woman" is the only film I've seen so far that successfully implements a complex structure containing flashbacks as well as dream-sequences - and even film-in-film images without becoming overly confusing. Raul Julia and William Hurt both deliver their finest performances ever, and the latter righteously got rewarded with an Oscar. A definite must see for every demanding fan of film-making.
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