Kiss of the Spider Woman (film)

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Kiss of the Spider Woman (Portuguese: O Beijo da Mulher Aranha) is a 1985 Brazilian-American drama film. It was directed by Argentine-born Brazilian director Héctor Babenco[1], and adapted by Leonard Schrader from the Manuel Puig novel of the same name. William Hurt, Raúl Juliá, Sonia Braga, José Lewgoy, and Milton Gonçalves star in the leading roles.

Contents

Plot

The film tells of two very different men who are sharing a Brazilian prison cell: Valentin Arregui (Raúl Juliá), who is imprisoned (and has been tortured) due to his activities on behalf of a leftist revolutionary group, and Luis Molina (William Hurt) a homosexual in prison for having sex with an underage boy.

Molina passes the time by recounting memories from one of his favorite films, a wartime romantic thriller that's also a Nazi propaganda film. He weaves the characters into a narrative meant to comfort Arregui and distract him from the harsh realities of political imprisonment and the separation from the woman he cares about.

Arregui allows Molina to penetrate some of his defensive self and opens up. Despite Arregui occasionally snapping at Molina over his rather shallow views of political cinema, an unlikely friendship develops between the two.

As the story develops, it becomes clear that Arregui is being poisoned by his jailers to provide Molina with a chance to befriend him, and that Molina is spying on Arregui on behalf of the Brazilian secret police. Molina has namely been promised a parole if he succeeds in obtaining information that will allow the secret police to find the revolutionary group's members.

However, Molina falls in love with Arregui, and Arregui responds after a fashion. Molina is granted parole in the hopes Arregui will reveal contact information when he knows Molina will be out of the prison. Arregui reveals that he has been aware that Molina has been spying on him, and then provides Molina with a telephone number in spite of that knowledge. Molina, fearing the consequences of treason, refuses to use the number, and he and Arregui bid farewell with a kiss.

In the final scenes, however, Molina decides to make use of the telephone number, and a meeting is arranged with someone from the revolutionary group. But the secret police have had Molina under surveillance, and a gun battle ensues, with the revolutionaries, assuming Molina has betrayed them on purpose, shooting him. As he wanders the streets wounded, the policemen catch up with him and demand that he disclose the telephone number to them in exchange for them taking him to the hospital for treatment, but Molina refuses and succumbs to his wounds. On the orders of the homophobic police chief (Milton Gonçalves), the policemen dump Molina's body in a rubbish tip and fabricate a story about his death and involvement with the revolutionary group.

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