Latinx Lens: Episode 12 – Raúl Juliá

In this episode Rosa & Cat take an in-depth look at the career of Raúl Juliá. The man who’s known as Gomez Addams had a long challenging journey before that role. Analyzing three films with his documentary functioning as reference, this episode takes a look at Juliá’s unfortunate short-lived career.

“Kiss of the Spiderwoman” (1985)

A gay man and a political leader are together in a prison. The gay man narrates the stories of two fake movies of his own life. Juliá portrays Valentin alongside William Hurt’s Luis Molina. This film is the first to earn an actor an academy award (Hurt) for depicting an openly gay man in film. This may be the film that catapulted Raúl Juliá into the spotlight. Kiss of the Spider Woman is available in its entirety on YouTube.

“The Addams Family”(1991)

In the film that would immortalize Juliá as Gomez Addams, this beloved film follows the Addams family in their search for their long lost uncle Fester (Lloyd). This family comedy showcases the uniqueness and importance of family. The Addams Family is available for rental on any rental platform.

“The Burning Season” (1994)

The film is based on the true story of Brazilian rubber tapper, Chico Mendes who leads his people in protest against the government and developers who want to cut down their part of the rainforest for a new road and ranch land. The rich and the powerful will stop at nothing, and frequently resort to murder. This would be the last film that Raúl Juliá would star in. Filming while fighting the disease that would eventually take his life, he was honored posthumously with a Golden Globe and Emmy award for his portrayal as Mendes. “The Burning Season” is available in its entirety on YouTube.

“Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage” (2019)

This documentary highlights Juliá’s extraordinary career from his beginnings in his beloved Puerto Rico to his last films in Hollywood. Narrated by family members, former coworkers, and current noticeable Latinx actors, who were influenced by Juliá’s work, this film is bound to open many viewers to the versatility and well rounded talent Raúl Juliá was. This documentary isn’t discussed in depth, but it’s utilized as a resource by our hosts. Watch on PBS or on Amazon Prime for purchase/rental.

Latinx Lens Recommends:

“El Santo vs. Los Zombies” (1961)