7.4/10
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62 user 58 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:

Hector Babenco

Writers:

Manuel Puig (based on the novel by), Leonard Schrader
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Hurt ... Luis Molina
Raul Julia ... Valentin Arregui
Sônia Braga ... Leni Lamaison / Marta / Spider Woman (as Sonia Braga)
José Lewgoy ... Warden
Milton Gonçalves ... Pedro
Míriam Pires Míriam Pires ... Mother (as Miriam Pires)
Nuno Leal Maia ... Gabriel
Fernando Torres ... Americo
Patricio Bisso Patricio Bisso ... Greta
Herson Capri ... Werner
Denise Dumont Denise Dumont ... Michele (as Denise Dummont)
Nildo Parente Nildo Parente ... Leader of Resistance
Antônio Petrin Antônio Petrin ... Clubfoot (as Antonio Petrin)
Wilson Grey ... Flunky
Miguel Falabella 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 | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Agita Productions, Inc.

Country:

Brazil | USA

Language:

English | French | Portuguese | German

Release Date:

26 July 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El beso de la mujer araña See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$55,962, 28 July 1985

Gross USA:

$17,005,229

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$17,009,654
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first independent film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. 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

Featured in The 58th Annual Academy Awards (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

JE ME MOQUE DE L'AMOUR
Lyrics by Manuel Puig, David Weisman
Music by John Neschling (uncredited)
Sung by Sônia Braga (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"Film within a film" really works
26 August 2002 | by demingSee 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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