Dec 29, 2008

Kiss of the Spider Woman


Kiss of the Spider Woman is easily my favorite “Brazilian-American” production. The film follows two prison cellmates who do not have very much in common aside from being unlucky. Valentin Arregui is some sort of Marxist revolutionary who has been jailed due to his subversive political activity. He shares his jail cell with Luis Molina, a womanly homosexual man who has been charged with playing with little boys. The character of Molina is played by a very out of character Willian Hurt.


Kiss of the Spider Woman is a notable film in that it features a “film within a film.” The character of Molina constantly tells the story of one of his favorite movies to the unimpressed Marxist Arregui. The film Molina speaks of is a fictional Nazi propaganda film called Her Real Glory. When Arregui finally finds out that the film Molina refers to is a Nazi propaganda film, he goes on later to talk about how Nazis put “faggots in ovens.” Eventually, Arregui goes to enjoy Molina’s storytelling.


Arregui is your typical hypocritical Marxist guy. He admits to Molina his love for a woman of the bourgeoisie class which he also seems to be a part of. His new proletarian girlfriend is semi-literate as Molina identifies while reading one of her letters. Arregui even seems to be embarrassed of his working class girl. Kiss of the Spider Woman has an interesting “analysis” of Marxist revolutionaries whether intentional or not. I hope no one interprets the film as “borderline fascist” as the Her Real Glory Nazi footage is also shot in a fairly beautiful light.


Kiss of the Spider Woman
is a film full of strange melodrama worthy of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s approval. The exaggerated melodramatic nature of the fictional Nazi propaganda film Her Real Glory only helps to setup the drama between the two lead characters of Kiss of the Spider Woman. William Hurt’s acting performance is nothing short of amazing. Whenever I think of the dirtiness and inhumanity of Brazil’s fine prison cells, I tend to reminisce of Kiss of the Spider Woman.


-Ty E

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