a werewolf comedy in which LonnChancy Jr. would’ve felt at home,nwhile Kiss of the Spider Woman isn”Cinema” writ large, with WilliamnHurt in his first post-Big Chill rolen(and one for which he received then1985 Best Actor Award at Cannes);nRaul Julia, who has a list of Tonynnominations to his credit; and SonianBraga, acclaimed as the Brazilian actressnsince her performance in DonanFlor and Her Two Husbands. Yet therenare reasons for the American public’snpreference for Teen Wolf over Kiss ofnthe Spider Woman, reasons more fundamentalnthan simple philistinism.nAt one point in Kiss, the homosexualncharacter played by a henna-hairednHurt says with a voice edged in pique,n”I don’t explain my movies—that justnruins the emotion.” The emotions innKiss itself are so debased that explanationnis simply irrelevant. Here we haventwo prisoners in a South Americanncell: Hurt as homosexual, Julia asnrevolutionary. Neither has a compellingnsense of identity: Hurt thinks thatnonly females can be “sensitive,” so henhas become a (wo)man; Julia has givennup his upper-class girlfriend to becomena small-time Che because he cannotnthink his way past leftist slogans.nAs the movie unfolds like a colorfulnbut bespotted silk scarf, the two mennexchange identities. The climax of thenmetamorphosis, and of the plot, isnsealed with a kiss—footage of a realnfemale spider consuming her matenwould have been less depressing. As anresult, the homosexual—who has previouslynlived in a fantasy world ofn1940’s B-movies spun in his headn—leaves the prison determined to actnas a revolutionary on behalf of hisnlover. The macho revolutionary, innturn, turns from Spartan to Sybarite.nFor all of its deficiencies. Teen Wolfnis honestly packaged: it’s transparentlyna flimsy comedy made for the buck, anmarketing device for popcorn, tickets,nand sound tracks. No one going to seenit can expect more. Kiss of the SpidernWoman, on the other hand, is a fraud.nIts producers and distributors representnit as serious art, a work of real substance.nBut the superficial manipulationnof character and the facile repudiationnof normative morality make Kissna more disgusting film than any unpretentiousnentertainment made for adolescents.n(CSV) COnOld Dutch Buggiesn& New AsiannShrimp Boatsnby Roland A. Alum Jr. andnTom RajasnWitness; Directed by Peter Wier;nStory written by William Kelly andnPamela & Earl Wallace; Screenplaynby Earl Wallace and William Kelly;nParamount Pictures.nAlamo Bay; Directed by LouisnMalle; Written by Alice Arlen; Tri-nState Release Studio.nBoth Witness and Alamo Bay explorenthe tensions that arise when dissimilarncultures meet, when people must meetnthe demands of an alien land. InnWitness, a streetwise Philadelphianhomicide detective, hardened by a climatenof violence and corruption, mustnhide out among the peaceful Amish ofnrural Pennsylvania Dutch country. InnAlamo Bay, a group of Vietnamesenrefugees flees its totalitarian-ridden nationnonly to find resentment in thensouthern Texas village where they hadnhoped to begin a new life.nOn its surface, Witness appears to bena cops-and-robbers adventure intertwinednwith a love story. But it is reallynsomething far more haunting. Thenaction focuses on an innocent eightyear-oldnAmish boy named Samueln(Lukas Hass), who embarks with hisnyoung, widowed mother Rachel (KellynMcGillis) in traveling south to visitnrelatives in Baltimore. However, thentwo are stranded at the magnificentnPhiladelphia railroad station, wherenthe boy witnesses a bloody murder innthe men’s lavatory, unnoticed by thentwo assassins — although he almostngets caught by them. Harrison Fordn(the star of Indiana Jones and othernLucas films) plays John Book, thentough policeman-hero assigned to thencase. To protect his boyish witness.nBook drives mother and son to theirnAmish farm in Lancaster County, butnnot before he is wounded in a parkinglotnambush. While recovering fromnhis wounds, he lives for a time amongnthese simple and pacific people whonreject all modern technology and livenby their own narrow rules. Known asn”the English” (a blanket term thennnAmish apply to outsiders). Book isnaccepted primarily because of his industriousnessnand carpentry skills, hisnhobby in the city (and Ford’s ownnreal-life hobby according to his biographer,nA. MeKenzie [The HarrisonnFord Story, 1984]).nNascent love between Book and thenbeautiful Rachel can find no overtnexpression because of the consequencesnof breaking Amish folk law: ostracism,nshunning, and expulsion. Andnthough Samuel comes to see Book as ansurrogate father, his grandfather warnsnhim not to trust “the ways of thenEnglish.”nBook finds it especially difficult tonadopt the characteristic passivity of thenAmish and ends up breaking the nosenof a taunting hoodlum. A local merchantnprotests to the local police thatnthe Amish must not do such things lestnthe tourists stop coming to see then”quaint” farmers. In the movie’s climacticnscene, the rough cop demonstratesnthat he has learned how tonvanquish an enemy without modernnweaponry, while his gentle hosts learnnof evil’s reality.nFor many viewers. Witness will bentheir first introduction to the Amish.nGermanic-Swiss-Dutch in origin, thenOld Order Amish migrated to NorthnAmerica during the 18th century becausenof religious persecution. In thisncentury, they have gained some notorietynbecause of their rejection ofnworldliness. As what sociologist PeternBerger would term a countermodernizingnmovement, the Amishnfroze their culture about a century ago:nthey use neither electricity, telephones,nnor motor vehicles. ThenAmish lead a disciplined life confinednto a closed and self-sufficient religiousncommunity.nSome (including John Podhoretz innThe American Spectator) see no idealizationnof pre-modern culture in Witness,nno attack on modern America.nBut such romanticizing of the soidisantn”primitive” is evident in previousnfilms by Director Peter Wier (e.g.,nThe Last Wave, about Australian aborigines),nand the Romantic conceptionnof “the noble savage,” a la Rousseau,nlives on in Witness. This conception,nas Brigitte Berger has repeatedly noted,nhas created a sort of reverse ethnocentrismnin Western thinking.nOn balance, the Amish have had tonDECEMBER 1985 / 43n