Six years after Emir Kusturica, film director and musician, played a show in Belgium dressed in a Uruguay football shirt, his film on the life of former Uruguayan president, and ex guerrilla, Jose Mujica, launched on Netflix.
The BBC declared Guru’Guay’s former president who was in office from 2010 to 2015, the world’s poorest president, in part because he donated about 90% of his monthly to charity. Though Pepe is not universally appreciated in his home country, no one can disagree that he walks the walk and that, combined with his inspirational progressive political discourse internationally, put a spotlight on Uruguay during his term in office and beyond.
The film by Kusturica focuses no only on Pepe’s political activism but his life-long love affair with his wife, Lucía Topolansky. They met during their time in the guerrilla. Lucía is an important politician in her own right, currently Uruguay’s first female Vice President until March 1 2020.
Pepe’s past as a guerrilla—who was captured and held in solitary confinement, including years at the bottom of a well, during Uruguay’s military dictatorship (1973–85)—is the subject of another film that can be seen on Netflix: A Twelve Year Night.
In 2018, El Pepe as he’s known found himself in the Venice Film Festival along side Lady Gaga and Ryan Gosling receiving a standing ovation. “I’m as out of place as a dog in a bowling match,” he confessed in his typical low-key style to local media.
You can watch El Pepe: A Supreme Life on Netflix.
Also check out story: Uruguay president gives hitchhiker ride from 2015
Photo Vince Alongi