7.4/10
11,625
56 user 54 critic

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

A gay man and a political prisoner are together in a prison. The gay man narrates the stories of two fake movies and his own life.

Director:

Writers:

(based on the novel by),

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Leni Lamaison / Marta / Spider Woman
...
Warden
...
Pedro
Míriam Pires ...
Mother (as Miriam Pires)
Nuno Leal Maia ...
Gabriel
Fernando Torres ...
Americo
Patricio Bisso ...
Greta
Herson Capri ...
Werner
Denise Dumont ...
Michele (as Denise Dummont)
Nildo Parente ...
Leader of Resistance
Antônio Petrin ...
Clubfoot (as Antonio Petrin)
Wilson Grey ...
Flunky
Miguel Falabella ...
Lieutenant
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Storyline

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

26 July 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El beso de la mujer araña  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$4,701 (USA) (29 June 2001)

Gross:

$4,952,880 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At first, Hector Babenco was not convinced about William Hurt's ability. From the moment he got out of his taxi in New York and saw Hurt, he thought, "This man, too American for my Latin American eyes, a Montana boy could never play this man I love." [Hurt, in fact, was from Washington, D.C., and trained at Juilliard.] Suddenly, after the first page and a half of the read-through, Hurt was like a wounded bird, and tears came to the director's eyes. He was convinced Hurt was up to the task. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Luis Molina: 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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Connections

Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(uncredited)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Heard during one of the scenes of Molina's story
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"Film within a film" really works
26 August 2002 | by (Montpellier, France) – See all my reviews

Reading the other reviews, I see that homophobes have been duly warned about this movie, so I won't say anything about the relationship between the two men beyond that it is complex and beautiful.

What interests me more for the purposes of this little blurb is that no one has commented on how the "film within a film" (much like the "play within a play" in Hamlet) reflects the actual events unfolding in the prison cell. Molina (William Hurt) is ostensibly retelling his favorite film to entertain Valentin (Raul Julia) and make the time pass more quickly, but he himself admits that he "embroiders" the story to make it more real. So who is to say if this film exists except in Molina's mind, and if it does, what really transpired in the film? The story about the French woman who is in love with a German officer during World War II, and must decide whether or not to betray him, is an obvious parallel to Molina's decision to betray Valentin or not. Even Molina says that he most identifies with Leni La Maison (Sonia Braga) in this film of his, and it's not just because he is a drag queen. It's because he has to choose between the man he loves and "patriotism" (in his case, represented by the police/government as well as his ailing mother).

This storytelling tactic works brilliantly, in my opinion. Kiss of the Spider Woman is indeed original, quirky, and a must-see.


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