» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

October 24, 2008
RATING: 8/10
In 1985, William Hurt took home the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Luis Molina in Hector Babenco's Kiss of the Spider Woman, a highly influential indie meta-film released on DVD and Blu-Ray this week. Hurt's performance is both touching and intelligent in this dialogue- and emotion-heavy film, adapted by legendary screenwriter Leonard Schrader from the novel of the same name, written by Argentinian author Manuel Puig. In addition to containing the now chic premise of a film within a film, the 23 year-old picture also tackles themes of sexual and political friction in an unnamed Latin American country. The new Collector's Edition release of the film features a bonus disc with a full-length documentary, Tangled Web: Making Kiss of the Spider Woman, as well as various other featurettes and material.

The film opens with Molina describing, in great detail, the plot of a campy WWII-era movie to his cellmate, Valentin Arregui, played by the impressive Raul Julia (One From the Heart, The Addams Family). As Molina launches into his soliloquy about the picture, which was also a Nazi propaganda film, Spider Woman's pace is set. Molina's recollections on the film serve as his escape from the dank prison cell he inhabits, a draconian place that he was thrust into as the result of an alleged immoral indiscretion. Lounging about the cell draped in multicolor kimonos and robes, Hurt plays up Molina's homosexuality without turning it into satire or stereotype. Arregui, on the other hand, is a political prisoner devoted to resisting the authoritarian regime they live under. At one point, when Molina offers him some avocado, Arregui declines, declaring that his political cause is greater than pleasure, something he believes Molina could never understand.

The film's plotline ventures outside of the confines of the cell for only a few brief moments during the film, some of which occur when Molina visits the prison's warden, revealing another side to his character's motivations, and some of which recount the tales he spins to ease the boredom and pain of incarceration. This format allows the two actors to play almost solely off one another, affording the chance to display their ample talents as dramatists capable of fully immersing themselves in their roles. Julia is sort of the straight man to Hurt's melodramatic and emotional Molina, but both actors shine in their performances. One of the most touching moments occurs when Arregui soils himself after becoming suspiciously ill, and Molina tenderly takes care of him. A sexual tension simmers underneath the proceedings, but what physical interaction takes place between the two is more an expression of true friendship and bonding in harsh conditions than lust.

Ultimately, Kiss of the Spider Woman leaves one with a feeling of hope, even as tragedy unfolds. As a director Babenco treats the political and sexual implications of the story with respect and skill, making the film a classic of its era. If you have yet to check it out, this new edition is definitely a good opportunity to visit a captivating and important moving picture.

SEE ALSO: www.kissofthespiderwoman.com
SEE ALSO: www.citylightsmedia.com

Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other articles by Jonah Flicker.



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