Kiss For Joe"
City of Iquique, early 1920's. A boy named Arturo Godoy
watches his father, a poor fisherman, glide off shore
on a boat. A big storm breaks and the boat
never returns. As the eldest son, Arturo must take
care of his mother and his little brothers. The survival
entanglement of those times force Arturo to transit through
a long list of low-paying jobs such as stevedore, fisherman,
smuggler and ultimately a sort of paid street fighter. A sports journalist sees one of Arturo's fights. Shortly after
Arturo is "discovered" and enters professional
boxing under the wing of the once prominent manager Louis
Bouey. Some time later Arturo wins the national games
of 1931 as a medium heavyweight.
Bouey decides to take Arturo to Buenos Aires to get him
into major league fighting. There, Arturo makes an excellent
campaign with a substantial wave of victories. After earning
money and a reputation, Arturo meets Leda Urbinati, an
Argentinean actress who later becomes Arturo's first wife.
Surprisingly Arturo defeats a boxing living legend: Firpo, the notorious "raging bull
of the Pampas". Right around this time Arturo has
an intense affair with a mysterious woman curiously referred
to as "Madame O". She, an eccentric and strikingly
beautiful Chilean aristocrat, demands both her identity
and her relationship with Arturo to remain secret.
Louis Bouey is now thinking big, so he
decides to take Arturo to try his luck in the United States.
Shortly after the arrival to New York, Bouey dies of a
heart attack. This hurts Arturo badly, but he commits
himself to fight whenever opportunity calls. Leda, his
brand-new wife, already tired of him and the Northern
Hemisphere winter decides to go back to Buenos Aires on
her own. Arturo wants to make some money, hoping to get
at least one decent rival. Then he meets Al Weill, a streetwise,
pushy boxing manager who sees potential in Arturo's fists.
However, Arturo goes to Buenos Aires where he learns about
Leda's infidelity. Disappointed, Arturo goes back to Chile.
A few years pass.
Back in Iquique Arturo gets a wire from Al Weill saying
that he has arranged a match for the world's crown against
the heavyweights champ, the unbeatable "Brown Bomber",
Joe Louis. Arturo can hardly believe the news. With his
characteristic happy-go-lucky style Arturo leaves for
New York with a group of friends as his personal crew.
There he finds Weill and Leda, who has come from Buenos
Aires in a reconciliation mood, but he has lost all interest
in working out the relationship with her. Meanwhile, Arturo
The actual fight with Louis takes place in the Madison
Square Garden. Arturo
surprises the boxing world with an excellent performance.
Brave rather than skillful, Arturo stands up to the last
round, an unusual feat given Joe Louis's fearsome record.
He even ridicules the fight by kissing Louis on the face
a couple of times. In the end, the jury makes Arturo lose
in a divided verdict. The spectators are not happy about
the outcome and even the Bomber's matchmaker talks about
giving Arturo a second chance, a re-match. There also,
Arturo meets Gabriel Meredith, a young Chilean-American
who made himself notable during the match by constantly
yelling: get down Godoy!. Arturo, Meredith and the whole
crew go out to celebrate.
Partly thanks to the press and Meredith,
Arturo gets his re-match officially scheduled for June.
It is decided that
Arturo will have to train intensely until then.
During this period Arturo becomes very close to Meredith
and, at the same time, tries to stay away from both Leda
and "O". Arturo's personal crew is also a source
of tension: Galvarino and Evaristo can't help constantly
disputing, while Leda hates both of them because of their
poor background. Fernandito, the sparring, simply doesn't
get involved. The core of this troublesome situation is
that Arturo is unable to get "O" off his mind
and Leda off his back. As the re-match date gets closer,
Weill makes every effort to keep Arturo focused on it.
Arturo himself asks Meredith to take care of "O"
while he trains. Inevitably, Meredith will be mesmerized
and ultimately seduced by the attractive woman.
The Louis-Godoy re-match has an almost tragic ending:
more than a dozen policemen intervene to keep Arturo from
getting crushed by a raging Joe Louis. Strangely, this
eloquent defeat does not seem to affect Arturo so badly.
The whole group, Meredith included, return to Chile. There,
Arturo is welcomed like a national hero. After a few months
in Iquique, Arturo finally divorces Leda. Meredith has
to go back to New York, but he has neither the money nor
the nerve to ask Arturo for it. He goes to see "O".
She agrees to pay for Meredith's trip, but with extraordinary
coldness, she tells him their relationship is over. Some
time after these events Arturo retires from boxing.
Years go by. Arturo returns to boxing as an instructor and
opens a family restaurant with his new wife. Alcohol had
finally killed Galvarino. Meredith has been living in
Iquique for years. While teaching in the military academy,
Arturo has a sour dispute with Officer Augusto Pinochet.
Around that time Joe Louis calls Arturo to tell him that
he's in a bad financial shape and wants to come to South
America to fight for money. Arturo gladly accepts to help.
Meanwhile, Meredith comes to Santiago and visits "O"
once more. Harsher than ever, she declares that she has
completely erased him and Arturo from her life. Meredith
decides not to tell anyone about it. He attends the Godoy-Louis
match, which turns out to be more of a boxing exhibit.
After the "show", Arturo, Louis and Meredith
go around Santiago. The scene is rather sad; Louis looks
old, beaten and confused. At one point Meredith tells
Arturo about his meeting with "O". Arturo asks
Meredith for details as he refuses to believe the degree
her "O" bitterness. But he knows Meredith is
telling the truth. A few days later, visibly wretched,
Arturo storms into an exclusive social club and finds
"O". Before getting kicked out and making sure
that everyone hears, Arturo calls her by her real name
"Olivia Uribarri- and then exposes their secret and
old love affair. For the first time "O" loses
her self-control; she's humiliated, speechless.
Arturo organizes a barbecue to reunite his old pals.
There, Fernandito and Evaristo hassle Meredith about working
in a communist newspaper. Even when the accusation is
somewhat true, Meredith refuses put up for an argument
and leaves. Then Arturo explodes destroying almost every
single object near him. The violence of his reaction scares
his friends away. The 1973's military coup takes place.
Arturo watches TV to learn about the country's new situation.
Suddenly he recognizes former officer Pinochet's face
behind the frightening dark shades of the new dictator.
Weeks after the coup Arturo shuffles old books from a
street stand. Unexpectedly he sees "O" right
in front of him. In silence they stare one another for
a moment: there is something both familiar and lost in
her gaze. Then she turns around and walks away.
Iquique. Meredith looks physically wasted and very thin.
Knowing he's in the new authority's black list, Meredith
ships a manuscript entitled "Life and combats of
Arturo Godoy" to Al Weill in New York. Later Meredith
walks along the dusty streets of an abandoned mining town,
with a deadpan expression. Meredith enters an empty house
and hangs himself.
Years go by. Arturo is a guest in a sports TV show. The
main dish: a clown-like kickboxing fight. Arturo is asked
to comment, but he has nothing serious to say about it.
Then they talk about his fights with Joe Louis, asking
Arturo what he would say to him if he were watching the
show. "That I send him a kiss" is his answer.
The last image is a frozen, classic Arturo Godoy's smile.
His facial expression is weary and slightly sad.
* * *
Biography of Pedro Mallol
After studying Architecture at Universidad de Chile (Santiago,
Chile), Pedro gradually shifted to filmmaking starting
at the Arts and Communication Sciences Program (Universidad
ARCIS, Santiago) and continuing to the New School University,
New York. Since then, Pedro has written and directed four
short films, written awarded scripts and worked in several
feature films projects in South America as well as in
As a screenwriter, Pedro has been the recipient
of several awards and grants such as the Luchino Visconti
Award (funded by the Italian government), best script
for "Día de Pago", 1997; the Fondart
Grant, (Chilean Board of Education) for the making of
the short film "Día de Pago", 1998, Hubert
Bals Grant, (Rotterdam Film Festival), short list finalist
for project development of feature film "Un beso
para Joe", 1999; Corfo Grant (Chilean Economy Ministry)
project development of feature film "Amor que mata",
1999; Ibermedia Grant, (Spanish Government), project development
of feature film "Un beso para Joe", 2000.
Amongst Pedro’s production credits we can
mention his participation as either a Director Assistant
or a Line Producer in the successful Chilean feature films
"El hombre que imaginaba", "Mi Famosa Desconocida"and
"Sueños de Verano".
While attending school in NYC (91-95), participated
in the making of several short films and the independent
feature films "Bagel & Lox",
"Ticket to Freedom" and "The Beauty