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Writer-director Hector Babenco, best known for the South America prison-set drama Kiss of the Spider Woman, has died from heart failure, according to the Associated Press. He was 70.
HB Films, Babenco’s production company, confirmed that the Argentine-born Brazilian filmmaker died Wednesday night in a Sao Paulo hospital.
Kiss of the Spider Woman, starring William Hurt and Brazilian actress Sonia Braga, nabbed four Academy Award nominations for best picture, director and screenplay, with Hurt taking home an Oscar for best actor.
Babenco also directed Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep in the 1987 drama Ironweed, both of whom landed Oscar nominations for their lead roles.
In 1991, Babenco’s At Play in the Fields of the Lord hit U.S. theaters. The drama, centering on missionaries sent to the jungles of South America, stars Tom Berenger, John Lithgow and Daryl Hannah.
During a career that spanned more than five decades, Babenco was a regular at the Cannes Film Festival. Carandiru, another prison-set movie featuring Narcos star Wagner Moura, competed for the Palme d’Or in 2003, as did Foolish Heart in 1998 and Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1985.
Babenco’s last work, My Hindu Friend, stars Willem Dafoe as a temperamental, terminally ill film director.
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