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Pepe

Directed by Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias
2024
Dominican Republic
123 minutes
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The true-ish story of Pepe the hippo who broke free of Pablo Escobar’s private zoo, featuring deeply philosophical narration from the (multi-lingual) hippo himself. Winner, Silver Bear, Berlinale.
In one of many quixotic decisions, drug lord Pablo Escobar illegally imported a number of hippopotamuses for his private zoo in Colombia. Pepe is the descendant of these pioneer “cocaine hippos”, becoming the first African hippo to ever roam the Americas after breaking free. Alongside his story, the film explores the lives and stories of people Pepe meets – from a Colombian fisherman and his irate wife to a Namibian tour guide. Technically audacious, playfully integrating fiction and non-fiction and in various media, Pepe is quite unlike any film you’ll see this year.
A film with a gleefully wanton approach to form, style and story in which no directorial decision is predictable
Wendy Ide, Screen International
What is striking about Pepe, beyond the outré premise itself, is its challenging, utterly distinctive style… [and] radically inventive filmic language
Jonathan Romney, Sight and Sound
Program Strand
Teaser
Year
2024
Country
Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Namibia
Language
In Afrikaans, German, Spanish and Mbukushu with English subtitles
Director
Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias
Producer
Tanya Valette, Pablo Lozano, Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias
Cast
Fareed Matjila, Shifafure Faustinus, Jhon Narváez
Screenwriter
Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias
Cinematographer
Camilo Soratti, Roman Lechapelier, Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias
Editor
Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias
Premiere
Australian Premiere
Genre
Africa, Off-Beat, Animals & Creatures
Company Credits
Festival Contact: Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias
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