Director Kusturica's 'last hero': Uruguay ex-president

Former Uruguayan President José Mujica (L) is recorded by award-winning Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica during the inauguration of the Agrarian School of Rincon del Cerro, in Montevideo department on March 5, 2015 (AFP Photo/Miguel Rojo) (AFP)

Montevideo (AFP) - Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica says he wants to show the world a new way to do politics with his latest project, a documentary on Uruguay's rabble-rousing ex-president Jose Mujica.

Mujica, who stepped down Sunday, gained international fame as "the world's poorest president" for living in his modest farmhouse, driving himself around in his beat-up Volkswagen Beetle and donating most of his salary to charity.

A colorful character known as much for his devotion to his three-legged dog as his landmark initiatives legalizing marijuana, abortion and gay marriage, the 79-year-old senator is the subject of Kusturica's forthcoming film "The Last Hero."

Kusturica, a two-time winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, said the crowds that turned out last weekend to bid farewell to Mujica were a testament to the success of his unique brand of politics.

"There's no country in the world, even in the very developed democracies, where the president goes away from office and the people are so happy to show how much they love him," the 60-year-old filmmaker told journalists in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo.

"Presidents mostly go to jail, try to run away, try to hide themselves, they become very rich and confirm why most people want to become politicians -- because they want to become rich."

Kusturica, who previously made a documentary on Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, said the film would follow Mujica's trajectory from urban guerrilla fighter in the turbulent 1960s and 70s to political prisoner to president.

Kusturica recently arrived in Uruguay to shoot the final footage, which shows Mujica working on his farm, driving his Beetle and welcoming Spain's former king Juan Carlos at his rustic house.

Kusturica said Mujica had become a "new friend."

"When I go to his house, he tells me, 'Come on, my friend, let's have a drink!'" he said.