Hugo Pratt was one of Italy's most famous and best respected comic book artists, winning international awards for his work on such series as <I>Corto Maltese</I>, <I>Jesuit Joe</I> and <I>Gli Scorpioni del Deserto</I>. But prior to Pratt's death in 1995, few of his fans were aware of the artist's passionate interest in Africa. In 1936, when he was just nine years old, Pratt and his mother traveled to Ethiopia, following his father, who was an officer with Benito Mussolini's invading forces. The experience was in many ways hellish for young Pratt -- when British forces invaded Ethiopia, his father was taken as a prisoner of war and died in a POW camp in 1942, while both Hugo and his mother were held in a refugee camp for a time before being sent back to Italy. But young Pratt also developed his love for comic books while in Ethiopia, which he got from the soldiers stationed there, and he fell in love with the nation's rich beauty. Pratt said that the six years he spent in Africa changed him in many fundamental ways, and filmmaker Stefano Knuchel offers a look into a little explored side of this celebrated artist in the documentary Hugo En Afrique, which was an official selection at the 2009 Venice International Film Festival.
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