Kiss of the Spider Woman
Directed by Hector Babenco
I had recently been complaining about William Hurt, but I might have to reconsider because of this film. I thought beforehand this performance might reek of desperation for an Oscar, but it actually turned out to be magnificent.
Valentin Arregui and Luis Molina share a prison cell in Brazil. Arregui has been arrested for revolutionary activities and misses his girlfriend Marta. Molina is imprisoned for having sex with an underage boy and gradually finds himself falling for Arregui. Molina spends his time recounting old movies that he has seen, which is probably how I would bother my cellmates as well (maybe hitting on Raul Julia too).
There is a lot more to the story obviously, but I don't want to give anything away. This film has lots of great twists, although I will freely admit that at times it crosses into melodramatic territory. I hear the ending praised a lot. I personally enjoyed the less over the top, dialogue driven scenes inside the prison.
Besides being a great film, it should also be celebrated for portraying a homosexual relationship. We haven't had that since....Rope, I guess.
The filmmakers tried to make Cat People one of the movies that Molina describes but they had trouble with Universal over the rights. That one was for you, Ray!
First independent movie to be nominated for Best Picture.