My Hindu Friend, 2015, Review

My Hindu Friend

Director: Hector Babenco

Digital release: 17.1.2020

Our Rating: ★★★½

Rock Salt Releasing is re-launching acclaimed Argentine-Brazilian filmmaker Hector Babenco’s (Kiss Of The Spider Woman) final film, My Final Friend/ My Hindu Friend in the international and U.S markets. My Hindu Friend was originally released in 2016 the English-language movie internationally premiered at the Montréal World Film Festival in 2016 where Dafoe was awarded Best Actor. 

A love letter to the human condition

Defoe plays Diego the talented filmmaker who is seriously ill with Cancer and his only hope is to fly to Seattle for a bone marrow transplant from his brother. Him and his brother, have a turbulent relationship, to put it mildly. Whilst undergoing treatment he meets a young Hindu boy (Rio Adlakha), who is also receiving treatment. Diego’s interactions with the young boy are the polar opposite to how we see him normally acting, he shares stories of his youth, films he loves and plays games of make-believe. Following his treatment and his time with the young boy, he begins to rebuild his life.

Willem Defoe, My Hindu Friend,

My Hindu Friend is not a film about death

This is a film about learning to live again. Diego finds a new sense of purpose, a new fire within him. The cinematography brightens with him, in the begins the shadows are so intense you feel the claustrophobic sickness that has gripped Diego. This emphasis on his hollow cheeks, dark eyes are so stark and right at the forefront. Defo’s portrayal of Diego is full of life, despite his fragile form. He deserved the Best Actor award, a role like this really reinforces his acting chops. He takes the role and chews it out with gusto, you can feel his anguish. 

Flawed, honest characters 

Something that struck me instantly, was how somewhat unlikeable the characters are. Now, granted we are meeting these characters at a particularly dark time in their lives. However, they seem to just live their lives indulging whatever hedonistic appetites they fancy. Whether that be alcohol, drugs or sex, it’s mainly sex. Which I know, all sounds a riot, but it is totally juxtaposed with these people who are supposedly in love and getting married. It just felt weirdly out of line with the narrative.

Willem Defoe, My Hindu Friend, still from film

Self Obsessed 

This is the story of a self-obsessed filmmaker reassessing his life. It is made more compelling with Babenco injecting My Hindu Friend with details from his own battle with the same disease. The death of director Babenco does give us a more poignant lens in which to view this film through.  

My Hindu Friend is honest and a call to celebrate life, both the good parts and the bad.  


Where to watch My Hindu Friend

My Hindu Friend can be streamed on (Amazon, iTunes, inDemand, DirecTV, Vudu, Google Play, FANDANGO, Vimeo on Demand, FlixFing, Hoopla, AT&T, Xbox, Sony & Sling/Dish).


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