Information about the director.
Kiss of the Spider Woman starts out simply enough, hemmed in by the narrow walls of a Latin American prison cell. Molina (William Hurt) is telling his new cellmate, Valentin (Raul Julia), his favorite story. Molina is a delicate homosexual imprisoned for seducing a minor; Valentin is a bearded revolutionary still bleeding from his interrogation. If their film unfolded into the typical prison buddy plot, it’d still be a good movie. But this is a great movie. There are stories twisting within stories, each drawing a new, surprising level of difference…
Based on the William Kennedy novel of the same name Ironweed is set in the waning years of the Depression. Jack Nicholson plays a washed-up ballplayer who deserted his family back in the teens when he accidentally killed his son. Since that time, Nicholson has been a shabby barfly, living from drink to drink. Wandering into Albany, New York, Nicholson blearily seeks out his girlfriend and erstwhile drinking companion Meryl Streep. The two derelicts touch base in a mission managed by minister James Gammon, and later in Fred Gwynne’s squalid gin mill. Over the next few days, Nicholson takes a few minor jobs to support his habit, while his mind wavers between past and present. A chance for a reconciliation with his wife Carroll Baker comes to naught when a group of local, baseball-bat wielding “reformers” take it upon themselves to drive all bums out of Albany. Directed by Hector Babenco (Kiss of the Spider Woman) , Ironweed is given over to the scenes between Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, both of whom are beyond praise.