February 7, 1946|
Buenos Aires, Argentina
July 13, 2016 (aged 70)|
São Paulo, Brazil
|Occupation||Film director and producer, screenwriter|
Héctor Eduardo Babenco (February 7, 1946 – July 13, 2016) was an Argentine-born Brazilian film director, screenwriter, producer and actor. He worked in several countries including Argentina, Brazil and the United States. His best known films are Pixote (1980), Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), Ironweed (1987), At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1990) and Carandiru (2003).
Babenco was born in Buenos Aires and raised in Mar del Plata. His mother, Janka Haberberg, was a Polish Jewish immigrant, and his father, Jaime Babenco, was an Argentine gaucho of Ukrainian Jewish origin.  Babenco lived in Europe from 1964 to 1968. In 1969, he decided to stay in São Paulo, Brazil, permanently. His first solo feature film as a director was King of the Night (1975).
Babenco had an international success with Pixote - A lei do mais fraco (1981). It concerns Brazil's abandoned children. In the words of E. Ruby Rich while it concerns "a pair of boys who form a symbiotic sexual union", the film cannot "be held up as an example of how gay desire can be depicted, given its sensationalistic and sordid treatment of gay sex as accommodation, substitution, and punishment". The film featured impressive work of young actor Fernando Ramos da Silva, 10 years old at the time, who was discovered in the suburbs of São Paulo. The film received numerous prizes.
He directed some of the most respected American actors of his time, including William Hurt, John Lithgow, Raul Julia, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Tom Berenger, Daryl Hannah, Aidan Quinn and Kathy Bates.
In 2012 Babenco was part of the jury in the 34th Moscow International Film Festival.