First, I saw The Kiss of the Spider Woman, for the first time in many years. I remember being completely bowled over by it the very first time I saw it, in our small theatre in our student union. William Hurt and Raul Julia give the performances of a lifetime; the main plot that of two men from differing backgrounds gaining a healthy respect, trust and friendship (perhaps even love) for one another through sharing a prison cell in a Latin American dictatorship. Interwoven with the main plot are the three subplots: the story of Raul Julia's character, the political prisoner Valentin's romantic involvement with his girlfriend, William Hurt's character's obsession with retelling the story of his favourite film, a piece of unadulterated Nazi propaganda from WWII; and a South Sea fantasy in which the Spider Woman of the title appears. Nothing much happens, it's just two men in a prison cell talking -- and yet, everything happens, lives are changed, characters are forged, the individual pits himself against the establishment and while losing the uneven struggle, wins...I love this film. I wish I could see it more often, but alas! it's not out on DVD yet -- nor does the studio have any plans to release it in that format any time soon.
Then, a day or two later, they showed Witness again, with Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. And again, I was enthralled. Personally, I think it's Ford's best role -- he does conflicted very well. The only scene I don't like is when he, having just been told his partner has been killed 'in the line of duty', chooses to vent his anger on an obnoxious tourist misbehaving towards the Amish. It's not that the teenager doesn’t deserve it, but the violence is excessive and disrespectful of the Amish's rules, which as their guest John Book ought to remember and adhere to. I don't know how many times I've seen this scene, but I always feel uncomfortable with it -- except for last time when I was distracted by recognizing Viggo Mortensen in the background. Funny: from Pennsylvanian Amish to King of Gondor -- not a bad career.
The part of this film I could watch again and again, ad infinitum even, is the barn-raising. It looks so idyllic and fun, I'd love to take part in one myself if I ever get the chance to -- and seeing Harrison Ford work at carpentry is an undeniable turn-on. I'm always a little sad to see Alexander Godunov, who like Raul Julia died much too young, and who -apart from his appearance in this film- I mostly remember as a truly gifted ballet dancer.
Looking forward to coming home today, and find Chris Ecclestone's CBeebies appearances have finished downloading -- I don't know how I ever managed without a home PC before.