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Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(based on the novel by),

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 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 | Romance

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

In an interview with National Public Radio, William Hurt stated that during a day off from production, he and a female companion were abducted at gunpoint by multiple gunmen in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was reportedly told to face a wall, at which point her was certain the gunman was going to execute both of them. Hurt refused and after a brief shouting exchange, all of the kidnappers left the scene. The incident was not reported to the production company at the time as he (Hurt) was certain that filming would be shut down, putting completion of the film in jeopardy. 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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) 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

 
This Weird Movie Will Catch You in Its Web
8 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A bizarre, evocative film which seems strange even now -- I can't imagine what audiences made of it in 1985.

William Hurt and Raul Julia play cell mates, one gay, the other straight, rotting away in a Latin American prison under the iron thumb of a tyrannical dictatorship. At first, Julia's Latin machismo makes him repelled by Hurt's flamboyant femininity, but the two gradually bond, thrown together as they are, and discover a kind of love that transcends conventions about love and sex and that can probably only exist between two people surviving in extreme conditions.

Hurt, already known as a strapping leading man at the time, took quite a risk playing this fey character, especially at a time when movies still weren't comfortable with mainstream portrayals of gays, but his risk payed off -- he won that year's Best Actor Academy Award and became just about the hottest actor in town for a few years there in the mid-80s. Julia has a much less showy role, but the success of the film is dependent upon the strength of both male leads, and he delivers. Sonia Braga plays the eponymous spider woman, a dream figure cobbled together by both men from their imaginations and memories of old movies.

This film is a big downer, but if you enjoy well-acted, well-written stories, then the depressing ending is worth it.

Grade: A


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