Writings / Readings / Cinema / Reality | Manuel Puig, 1932-90


Manuel Puig


“I felt the need to tell stories to understand myself.”

‘I have written every one of my novels to convince somebody of something.”

“I allow my intuition to lead my path.”

“I locate that special problem in a character and then try to understand it. That’s the genesis of all my work.”

“If the novelist shares his or her problems with the characters, he or she is able to study his personal unconscious.”

“It’s my own personal unconscious that ultimately creates the novel’s aesthetic facade.”

“Kafka truly illustrates the way the environment oppresses the individual. He shows how the unconscious controls our lives.”

“What better model of a synthesis than a nocturnal dream? Dreams simplify, don’t they?”


Hector Babenco’s Kiss of the Spider-Woman, 1985


“I like the beauty of Faulkner’s poetry. But I don’t like his themes, not at all.”

“In a country like France, so ancient, their history is full of outstanding people, so they carry a heavy weight on their back. Who could write in French after Proust or Flaubert?”

“I do believe that reading can help you understand what you’re writing and see what others are doing. But sometimes the desire for more information can act as an inhibitor.”

“As a rule, one should never place form over content.”

“Tardiness in literature can make me nervous.”

“I didn’t choose literature. Literature chose me. There was no decision on my side.”

“My stories are very somber, so I think I need the comic ingredient. Besides, life has so much humor.”


Hector Babenco’s Kiss of the Spider-Woman, 1985


“I think cinema is closer to allegories than to reality. It’s closer to our dreams.”

“I can work in films as long as the story doesn’t have a realistic nature. If I’m working with an allegory, a fantasy, it can be developed in synthetic terms.”

“I had stories that needed more space than the hour and a half or two hours a movie gives you.”

“I started writing movie scripts. They excited me a lot, but I didn’t like them when they were finished because they were simple copies of the films I saw in childhood.”

“I write for somebody who has my own limitations. My reader has a certain difficulty with concentrating, which in my case comes from being a film viewer.”

“I am only interested in bad taste if I can enjoy a gruesome tango or watch a movie that makes me cry.”

“If a spectator with a philosophical mind, somebody accustomed to reading books, gets the same kind of information in a movie, he might not fully understand it.”

“Modern American cinema seems to me superficial. The intention is to understand a certain reality, and the result is nothing but a photographing of that reality.”


Manuel Puig


“Your reality, isn’t restricted by this cell we live in. If you read something,
if you study something, you transcend any cell you’re inside of.”

“The writer needs to react to his or her own internal universe, to his or her own point of view.
If he or she doesn’t have a personal point of view, it’s impossible to be a creator.”

“I only understand realism.”

“I write novels because there is something I don’t understand in reality.”

“Writers are not meant for action.”

“My pleasure was to copy, not to create.”

“If it’s great stuff, the people who consume it are nourished. It’s a positive force.”

“I don’t want to name names, but the least I can say about rock and roll is that I’m suspicious.”

“My greatest aspiration was always to live in the tropics.”

Manuel Puig, 1932-90

Hector Babenco’s Kiss of the Spider-Woman, 1985

Hector Babenco’s Kiss of the Spider-Woman, 1985 is an adaptation of a novel by Argentine author, Manuel Puig.

The two men pass their time in prison by recountings their own favorite memories with each other, with Luis concerned with the comfort of his cell-mate.

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