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577 Ratings

Kiss of the Spider Woman

Directed by Héctor Babenco
Brazil, United States, 1985
Drama, LGBT+, History


The story of two radically different men thrown together in a Latin American prison cell. One is Valentin, a journalist being tortured for his political beliefs. The other is Molina, a window-dresser who fills their lonely nights by spinning romantic fantasies drawn from memories of old movies.

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Kiss of the Spider Woman Directed by Héctor Babenco

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1985 | Winner: Best Actor

Academy Awards

1986 | Winner: Best Actor in a Leading Role

1986 | 3 nominations including: Best Picture

Independent Spirit Awards

1986 | Winner: Special Distinction Award

Critics reviews

Thirty years on, it’s hard to appreciate how groundbreaking it was in the way it mixed its Nazi propaganda film-within-a-film with the tough-and-tender drama of the prisoners’ bond. But the bruised machismo of Raul Julia’s fellow prisoner Valentin Arregui registers more strongly against Hurt’s flamboyance with the passage of time. A landmark in queer cinema, as compassionate as it is daring.
March 04, 2016

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