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~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
The film adaptation of Kiss of the Spider Woman was... 
24th-Feb-2006 09:52 pm
Rose
So disappointing! T_T

Way to turn an unlikely love story into a pity fuck, man! *grr*

While Raul Julia as Valentin I could live with, William Hurt as Molina was 1) WAAAAY too Aryan and 2) not nearly enough the stereotypical queen. (Mom: *addressing the latter bone* They didn't do that in movies back then...if it were done now it would be a totally different story.) Methinks that 'twas the role that really got the Oscar, not the actor.

And what was that about the meaning of the title? Molina isn't fantasizing about the spider woman--he IS the spider woman! Not to mention that it was Valentin's image, anyway. *sighs*

In all fairness, though, I suppose I have to give them credit for even doing this novel in the first place. The dialogue-and-nothing-else plus tiny jail cell setting, never mind the homoerotic subject matter, doesn't exactly invite cinematic inspiration, but they made it work well visually. (Though, as I said before, Hurt was too white for that crowd.)

By the way, did you know the film is totally out-of-print? It's never even been released on DVD! They had the VHS at the local Hollywood Video. I lucked out.
Comments 
25th-Feb-2006 05:29 am (UTC)
I'm really interested in reading Kiss of the Spider Woman now. It's a shame that the film didn't live up to the book.

May I recommend reading Gerald Walker's "Cruising." I've never read the book, but I saw the movie its based on starring Al Pacino. It was directed by William Friedkin--he directed "The Exorcist" so that might tip you off that this isn't some happy road trip flick. ^_~
25th-Feb-2006 12:55 pm (UTC) - Cruising
I haven't seen that movie. I'd read quite a bit of stuff about it suggesting that it's extremely homophobic, but not having seen it I can't (obviously) make any judgment on it. Did you find it homophobic at all?
25th-Feb-2006 01:34 pm (UTC) - Re: Cruising
Y'know, it was homophobic, but from how I viewed the film I got the impression that it was so suposse to be dilberately so. Al Pacino's character is not homophobic and I think that that is something to consider. I mean the film was made in the 70s, during the AIDS crisis and it is almost as if Friedkin intentionally filmed the movie from the distorted impression of homosexuals by heterosexuals.
25th-Feb-2006 01:04 pm (UTC)
May I recommend reading Gerald Walker's "Cruising."

Hmm. >_< I take ít that this is an old movie not on DVD?
25th-Feb-2006 01:35 pm (UTC)
No. not on DVD. It was made in the 70s.
25th-Feb-2006 12:53 pm (UTC)
I liked the movie a lot when I saw it, quite a few years go, but I haven't read the book. Which may have helped. I thought Hurt did quite well in the role, if you could (as you say) get past the fact that he was so very wrong ethnically for the part.

I'm more critical of movies these days, so if I saw it again I suspect I'd be less enthusiastic.
25th-Feb-2006 01:14 pm (UTC)
Though I know it's an anachronism, I kept thinking that whoever did Molina should've *sounded* like Carson Kressley, not *looked* like him. Plus, watching him walk down that Latin American city street at the end of the film, head and shoulders above everyone else, the only blond man in sight, was just too painful.
25th-Feb-2006 06:00 pm (UTC) - Molina was 1) WAAAAY too Aryan
Well, Manuel Puig is from Argentina.
Isn't he?
25th-Feb-2006 07:59 pm (UTC) - Re: Molina was 1) WAAAAY too Aryan
Yeah, though I don't see what that has to do with it. Puig didn't look like William Hurt for what that's worth, and the story might not have taken place in Argentina, anyway.
25th-Feb-2006 08:05 pm (UTC) - Re: Molina was 1) WAAAAY too Aryan
Oh, I understand that, and yes, the story was just set in "South American jail" which is pretty generic, but I'm just saying that Argentinians, and 'latin' people in general, don't always look the way one might expect them to. You can look at the Argentinian population and see how diverse they are in their races & culture.




25th-Feb-2006 08:10 pm (UTC) - Re: Molina was 1) WAAAAY too Aryan
There are a bunch of reasons why Molina was unlikely to look Aryan, starting with his apparent socio-economic status in the novel...not to mention his last name, which sounds more Italian than anything else. However, as far as the film went, you got a bunch of shots of him walking down the city street, head and shoulders above the crowd AND the only blond in sight. It was a painful miscast.
25th-Feb-2006 08:19 pm (UTC) - Re: Molina was 1) WAAAAY too Aryan
I'm sorry to keep arguing with you about this, but looking Aryan has absolutely nothing to do with socio-economic status. A latin man could look as blond as Apollo, as grey eyed and tall as Eisenhower (was he grey-eyed?) and yet be as poor as yesterday's unswept dirt.

However, I agree that if that if he stuck out like a sore thumb, they should have done a better job of casting extras.

I'm just slightly perturbed by the implications that a Molina could not look a "white," as italian-sounding as that name may be, and as south american as he might have been.
26th-Feb-2006 12:04 am (UTC) - Re: Molina was 1) WAAAAY too Aryan
but looking Aryan has absolutely nothing to do with socio-economic status.

*blinks* Where are you getting your information? Latin America isn't about black and white, but different degrees of color confer different degrees of privilege.

Besides, both characters are supposed to be stereotypes to the max. Molina would look like the "average" Latin American queen...whatever that may be.

I'm just slightly perturbed by the implications that a Molina could not look a "white," as italian-sounding as that name may be, and as south american as he might have been.

There is a big difference between a light Italian and Hurt.
26th-Feb-2006 12:12 am (UTC) - Re: Molina was 1) WAAAAY too Aryan
Let's clarify here: I hope you're not arguing that skin color and ethnicity are not correlated to socio-economic status--because they are in Latin America, too. If, on the other hand, you're arguing that a white man CAN be poor, well, that's not the point at issue. The characters of Kiss of the Spider Woman were supposed to be wholly typical, even stereotypical. They should not in immediate physical appearance or affect be remarkable or deviate from expected norms.
26th-Feb-2006 12:29 am (UTC) - Blond latin dude? Who ever heard of THAT?!
We do need to clarify. South America & Central America are so diverse in their races and situations that it's very difficult to generalize. We can't say that racism doesn't exist, but we can't make it sound as if this was a matter of race = caste. The rich amalgamation of races, even within the nuclear family, combined with the heredity of old-world traditions and prejudices, made sure of that. Also, Molina is a common last name in hispanic countries, I'm not too sure it doesn't come from Spain.

I hope I haven't bothered you with this. Perhaps, when I actually watch the film I'll come back to you and say how I completely agree with your assessment.
26th-Feb-2006 12:41 am (UTC) - Re: Blond latin dude? Who ever heard of THAT?!
We can't say that racism doesn't exist, but we can't make it sound as if this was a matter of race = caste.

Darker-skinned people DO tend more toward the bottom than the top and light-skinned people vice versa in Latin America as a broad-sweep generalization, and also in general there is less social mobility in Latin America than there is in the US. These trends are instantly recognizable--if a film deviates, it's noteworthy. Like casting an Asian woman as President of the United States would be noteworthy and possibly distracting if there wasn't a specific reason for it.
26th-Feb-2006 12:57 am (UTC) - Re: Blond latin dude? Who ever heard of THAT?!
Maybe I'm just dense, but I just don't see how casting a tall, blond man as latin man is in any way noteworthy or distracting.

We just seem to have different expectations of how a latin man should look like. My expectations are to expect, forgive the redundancy, a wide array of looks because of the racial mixing.
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