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The true story of the rise to power and brutal assassination of the formerly vilified and later redeemed leader of the independent Congo, Patrice Lumumba. Using newly discovered historical evidence, Haitian-born and later Congo-raised writer and director Raoul Peck renders an emotional and tautly woven account of the mail clerk and beer salesman with a flair for oratory and an uncompromising belief in the capacity of his homeland to build a prosperous nation independent of its former Belgium overlords. Lumumba emerges here as the heroic sacrificial lamb dubiously portrayed by the international media and led to slaughter by commercial and political interests in Belgium, the United States, the international community, and Lumumba's own administration; a true story of political intrigue and murder where political entities, captains of commerce, and the military dovetail in their quest for economic and political hegemony.Written by
L. J. Allen-2
Frank Carlucci, who was second secretary at the U.S. embassy in the Congo at the time of Lumumba's assassination, is portrayed in one scene discussing the murder with U.S. Ambassador Clare Timberlake and several Belgian and Congolese officials. Carlucci threatened to sue U.S. distributor Zeitgeist Films if his name was not removed from the movie. Zeitgeist was too small to fight any potential lawsuit, so all non-theatrical U.S. releases of the film (including the version shown on HBO and potential VHS and DVD releases) have Carlucci's name bleeped from the dialogue and masked in the closing credits. See more »
I liked this film but to like it, you must know more about the history of Congo. You must also know some more about Belgians and their disrespect (and that is a metaphore!) of the Congolese state.
Lumumba and the Congolese people didn't deserve this as he was right. We Belgians did exploit them for decades. But just because Lumumba reacted not so friendly to Bwana Kitoko (the king was called this way by the Congolese in a previous visit, he was hailed as a great leader) they had to further destabilize Congo and assassinate Lumumba. So he called for the help of the USSR, that was his only option as everybody else was against him. For the Congolese people the US didn't do anything like they did for us with the Marshall Plan. They did support Mobutu's cruel dictatorial rule with lots of money. What good did that do for the average Congolese?
And the trouble didn't stop with the flight of Mubutu. In modern sociological terms, Congo is considered a failed state. And that has it's reasons (and we Belgians are responsible for a large part of those). I hope that Lumuba's dream will still come true and that the Congolese peace process will last so peace and a way of living that is accepted by all Congolese may finally come for them.
Back to the film: You can't expect to understand the complex situation the new independent Congo was put in just by watching this film. That's like thinking the film Enemy at the Gates will explain me everything about the battle of Stalingrad. The film is restricted in many ways and the viewer must understand that. first: It's a film, not a documentary. Some of the scenes are interpretations but they are needed for the plot. second: The main character is Lumumba. Not everything about the troubles in Katanga or elsewhere is told, neither is everything about Mobutu told. It would have been an endless film that way. third: The film is an African film, let them create their own ways of telling this story. White people shouldn't tell them how to tell a story. But I'm glad that some funded this film that tell some people more about an unclear history. It might encourage them to find out more about Lumumba or various other things after the credits roll away and that is a good thing.
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