Héctor Babenco, Oscar-nominated director of Kiss of the Spider Woman, dies at 70

Carnation

Héctor Babenco, acclaimed Argentine-Brazilian film-maker, has died of a heart attack at the age of 70.

The director, who received an Oscar nomination for his prison-set drama Kiss of the Spider Woman, had a career spanning five decades and worked with actors including Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson and Willem Dafoe.

He broke out in 1980 with Pixote, a Brazilian drama about teens used by the police and drug cartels to commit crimes. It became a critical hit, with Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael singing its praises and film-makers such as Spike Lee and Harmony Korine citing it as a major influence.

It led to the 1985 hit Kiss of the Spider-Woman, which starred William Hurt and Raul Julia. It made him the first ever Latin American film-maker to receive a best director nomination at the Oscars.

His follow-up was Depression-era drama Ironweed, which focused on a homeless couple, played by Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, who both picked up Oscar nominations for their performances.

Later work included adventure At Play in the Fields of the Lord with John Lithgow and Kathy Bates and docudrama Carandiru. His last film My Hindu Friend, which stars Willem Dafoe as a terminally ill man, was released in Brazil earlier this year.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Benjamin Lee, for theguardian.com on Friday 15th July 2016 10.15 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010