Mujica film to open Festival in Havana

Sur siege and resistance told by Ozcan Alper will also be screened. The short animation film is one of 12 short that makes up Gure oroitzapenak, dedicated to the literary work of Basque writer Joseba Sarrionandia.

Three years of interviews with former Uruguayan President José Mujica ended with Serbian acclaimed director Emir Kusturica making a documentary film presented at the Venice Film Festival, last September. 

Now organisers announced that the film is to open the 40th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana, Cuba.

The Festival opens on 6 December.

“Pepe, a supreme life”, is the title of this long-applauded film at the last Venice Film Festival, an event in which it was awarded by the Unesco International Film and Television Council.

Although the film recreates the story of a humble man, a Tupamaro guerrilla who ended up becoming president of Uruguay, Kusturica said that he was inspired in a good measure by the relationship between Mujica and "his wise companion", Lucia Topolansky, current vice president of the country, and in this respect the film includes a sensitive editing that narrates that loving bond, from the first days to the present, as well as interviews with fellow comrades of the old guerrilla leader.

Three years of work during which Kusturica and Mujica strengthened a solid friendship, which made Mujica accompany Kusturica to the presentation of the film in Venice, where he declared: "I am not a star.. I am here exclusively for a friend called Kusturica. My world is different, I do not know if better or worse, but another world."

Sur siege and resistance 

Among the other films to be presented in Havana, a special mention goes to Gure oroitzapenak, which present, with 12 short films, the literary work of great Basque writer, Joseba Sarrionandia. 

Sarrionandia escaped from prison in 1985 hidden in a buffer and ended up in Cuba, living first in hiding and then ending up directing the Basque Faculty in Havana University. 

Among the 12 short films is Ozcan Alper’s animation, dedicated to Sur under siege and the resistance of the people of Amed. It is also an intimate tribute to lawyer Tahir Elçi murdered in Sur on 25 November 2015, while inviting the government to retake a dialogue for peace. 

Twelve filmmakers from Euskal Herria and three other countries make up this collective project: all authors have some kind of relationship with Sarrionandia, be it personal, affection or admiration for his literature.

The film was greatly praised at the San Sebastian Film Festival.