We continue our exploration of the Arturo Ripstein films currently available on MUBI with a discussion of The Black Widow/ La viuda negra. The film is based on Debiera haber obispas/ There Should Be Female Bishops, a novel by Rafael Solanas. It’s a film we urge all of our friends interested in exploitation cinema to see. From a producer/audience point of view, the film is all about showing as much of the female star’s body in as many sexual poses as possible. Arturo Ripstein has bypassed and exceeded the expectations of both producers and audiences by providing a film that is a corrosive critique of the pieties of bourgeois life, of the malignant influence of class and of the hypocrisies of the Church. There’s a very powerful moment where the protagonist, punitively shunned by the whole village, dons a priestly cassock to reveal all their secrets and condemn them all to hell. It was made in 1977 and perceived as so blasphemous that it was originally prohibited release. It was released five years later to much acclaim and many Ariel nominations, the Mexican equivalent of the Academy Awards, with Isela Vega winning for best actress. We loved Castle of Purity and think La viuda negra even better. Why this is so is the subject of the podcast.
The podcast may be listened to here:
The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT
and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546
For those of you interested, Dolores Tierney informs me that ‘This book chapter (by Sergio de la Mora) from Latsploitation has a good bit on La viuda negra: Isela_Vega_article