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2011, Sun, Nov 27

Kiss of the Spider Woman (O Beijo da Mulher Aranha)

D: Héctor Babenco

Brazil/USA 1985, 116 min, English subtitles

This is the first film adaptation of the best-selling novel by Manuel Puig: The political prisoner Valentin Arregui and the homosexual Luis Molina, who is accused of child sex abuse, share a cell in a Brazilian jail in the 1970s. Molina helps his cellmate pass the time by retelling old films; Arregui, on the other hand, who is still suffering from the torture he was recently subjected to, tells of his great love Marta, and, on rare occasions, of his time as a revolutionary. Secretly, Molina has been given the job of spying on Arregui, but he falls in love with him and keeps his silence.

Héctor Babenco (* 1946 in Mar del Plata, Argentina) worked for many years in Europe, North America and Africa in a range of professions, among them as an extra in Spaghetti Westerns. In 1970, he moved to Brazil, where his fascination for Brazilian cinema prompted him to become a filmmaker himself. He made his international breakthrough with “Pixote“ (1980). Babenco then went to Hollywood, where he made “O Beijo da Mulher Aranha“ (1985), for which he received an Oscar nomination for best director. His next film was “Ironweed“ in 1987. Having returned to Brazil, he won accolades in 2003 with “Carandiru“ and in 2006 with “Carandiru. Outras Histórias“, films about what was once the largest prison in Latin America.