EPICENTRO by Hubert Sauper


a film by Hubert Sauper

A film about the butterfly effect in geopolitics, the paradox of time, about the (almost) end of the world, the cinematograph, about sex, and sugar.

Produced by Groupe Deux
in coproduction with KGP – Kranzelbinder Gabriele Production and Little Magnet Films


This movie will unfold on an enigmatic place, around the old town and the harbor of Havana, Cuba. This was the island which Christopher Columbus believed, until his death, to be India. Cuba is the epicenter where the Spanish empire departed on its triumphal journey. With the colonizers came the Bible, «civilization» or «modern development», efficiency: genocide for example … The Spanish simply eradicated the local populations of the tropical island. To follow, these people were replaced, again with brutal force, by Africans who found themselves crossing the Atlantic in chains. Those slaves who survived, produced for the rest of their lives sugar, tobacco and cotton etc. for Europeans. A truly «New World» was born. The growing armada of sail ships crossing the oceans, trafficking humans and with goods, lead to an economic boom and concentration of wealth in Europe which the old continent never before even imagined. A new kind of world-trade was in full swing, planetary colonization by Europeans and the industrial revolution was the dorm of what today is coined «globalization».
Four centuries after the New World had been discovered, in 1898, the Spanish empire was in complete decadence, a tired cleptocracy, that had lost most of it’s overseas possessions. But Cuba, the «pearl of the Caribbean» represented the last and highly lucrative colony of the Spanish crown. This «pearl» with it’s abundance of green land and tropical fruits was just as desired by another, yet emerging empire, the United States. «America for Americans» was the «Monroe doctrine» of the time, which aimed to contain European colonialism and feudalism.
One event would change the course of history: it happened on a quiet evening in the harbor of old Havana where the Spanish soldiers patrolled the streets. A mighty American battle ship the «U.S.S. Maine» had anchored under friendly flag, and its officers dined and wined on shore. But then the silence broke, a violent fireball rose up to the sky. The «Maine» had sunk with its many sailors drowned into the dark waters. This mysterious explosion would be blamed on the Spaniards, and would have global repercussions. One can still hear it’s echo hundred years later, as it altered humanity’s destiny ever since. This one bang triggered a war, which determined nothing less than the military and economic world domination by the United States. And it signed the final end of the Spanish empire. An explosion, a war between giants, a «butterfly effect».

Hubert Sauper

about the director
Hubert Sauper was born in Kitzbühel, Tyrolian Alps. Having spent his childhood in Austria, he then lived in Great Britain, Italy, the USA, Tanzania, Congo and South Sudan. His «homebase» since the mid 90s is France. He studied film directing partly in Vienna and Paris (Univ. of Performing Arts, Univ. de Paris VIII.) and graduated with excellence B. A. (Mag. art.).
Sauper’s socio-political and poetic films have been winning over 50 major international prizes, among them the awards at Venice Film Festival, Berlinale, Sundance, NY, the French (César), Austrian and European Academy Award. His documentary DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE (2004) was nominated for an Oscar in the category Best documentary in 2006.
As an actor he played in several shorts and two feature length films: IN THE CIRCLE OF THE IRIS (Dir. Peter Patzak, with Philippe Léotard) and BLUE DISTANCE (Dir. Peter Schreiner).
Filmography (as writer and director): WE COME AS FRIENDS (2014, Documentary), DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE (2004, Documentary), ALONE WITH OUR STORIES (2000, Documentary), KISANGANI DIARY (1998, Documentary), LOMOGRAPHER’S MOSCOW (1995, Documentary), SO I SLEEPWALK IN BROAD DAYLIGHT (1994, Fiction), ON THE ROAD WITH EMIL (1993, Documentary)
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