Oscar winner William Hurt - who starred in roughly 60 films over the past 30 years - celebrates his 63rd birthday today.
This consistently reliable actor has delivered many memorable performances over the years.
There are so many to choose from, but let’s look at five of his films over the next five days.
Happy Birthday Mr. Hurt!
Revisiting the escapism (which feature films can give) provides desperately-needed therapy for Luis because he’s currently imprisoned in a gray concrete prison cell.
A hopeless situation, with no parole in sight, he shares his locked-up circumstances with Valentin Arregui (Raul Julia).
With little in common - Luis, a gay man, incarcerated for a relations with a minor and Valentin, a straight man, arrested as a political revolutionary - they simply co-exist.
Luis repeatedly offers his friendship, but the agitated Valentin routinely refuses.
This is the backdrop of director Hector Babenco’s engaging film, and he captures the relationship of these two men living in brutal conditions and Luis's detailed narrative throughout the movie’s 120-minute runtime.
Babenco liberally paints the back and forth between reality and fantasy, and at first, the two worlds seem completely dissimilar.
Luis’s story involves the adventure and romance between a gorgeous French woman named Leni (Sonia Braga) and a German officer in Nazi-occupied Paris.
As the movie unfolds, however, we discover these two settings might own many more similarities than originally thought, but the trip to 1940’s Paris is intentionally cheesy.
With a sepia-like camera filter, Luis follows Leni’s winding journey, but the deliberate ham-handed and dated storyline lacked pizzazz for me.
I found it distracting the first time, but that’s a shame, because there is much more to this yesterdecade escapade than meets the eye.
Back to the penitentiary, Babenco explores the relationship between these two men, and Julia is very good as the irritable - but also well-thought out and educated - journalist.
Valentin is uncomfortable with Luis’s sexual preferences and love of romance and wonder, because he knows the harsh nature of his environment just outside prison.
On the other hand, Luis is no fool, and also has experienced society’s cruelty.
He simply prefers to dream for something better.
Hurt certainly lived something much better, as he won the Best Actor Oscar for this performance.
Hurt brings to life the portrait of a man comfortable in his own skin despite the mean-spirited insults or disparaging looks he receives due to his flamboyance and sexuality.
Fighting his feelings of emptiness and loneliness, Luis aspires to be happy.
The problem is he doesn’t really know how to get there on a more permanent basis, but still wishes for it.
“The nicest thing about feeling happy is you think you’ll never feel unhappy again,” Luis says.
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