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Lumumba (2000)

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The true story of controversial leader of independent Congo, Patrice Lumumba.

Director:

Raoul Peck

Writers:

Pascal Bonitzer, Dan Edelstein (English dubbed version) | 1 more credit »
3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Eriq Ebouaney ... Patrice Émery Lumumba
Alex Descas ... Joseph Mobutu
Théophile Sowié Théophile Sowié ... Maurice Mpolo (as Théophile Moussa Sowie)
Maka Kotto ... Joseph Kasa Vubu
Dieudonné Kabongo Dieudonné Kabongo ... Godefroid Munungo
Pascal N'Zonzi Pascal N'Zonzi ... Moïse Tshombe
André Debaar André Debaar ... Walter J. Ganshof Van der Meersch
Cheik Doukouré Cheik Doukouré ... Joseph Okito
Makena Diop Makena Diop ... Thomas Kanza (as Oumar Diop Makena)
Mariam Kaba Mariam Kaba ... Pauline Lumumba
Rudi Delhem Rudi Delhem ... Général Emile Janssens
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Francis Adam Francis Adam ... Le maître d'hôtel
Olivier Bony ... BAUDOIN
Alain Bouillé Alain Bouillé ... Le pilote du Dakota
Pavel Dobrovsky Pavel Dobrovsky ... Belgian soldier
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

France | Belgium | Germany | Haiti

Language:

French | Lingala | English

Release Date:

27 September 2000 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

Lumumba, retour au Congo See more »

Filming Locations:

Belgium See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,625, 1 July 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$684,121, 16 December 2001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Visa d'exploitation en France # 86742. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Patrice Émery Lumumba: [voice over narration] You never knew about that night in Katanga. No one was to know.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Femme Fatale: From Dream to Reality (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

A film that is horrific and unsettling, but real. Excellent.
27 January 2003 | by annepeterSee all my reviews

Congo is a sad country which started with massive disadvantages (King Leopold used it as his private route to personal wealth) and never recovered.

The Belgians made little provision for independence, but that is not unusual in Africa and other countries have managed OK despite a bad start. Congo never did.

A combination of tribal and ethnic conflicts, underhand colonial behaviour and Cold War politics meant that failure was inevitable. Lumumba was brutally murdered by his own countrymen with America and Belgium cheering from the sidelines.

Lumumba never had a chance and he made it worse for himself by delivering an un-programmed and fiercely anti-colonial speech on Independence Day. This is not made too clear in the film - you have to listen really hard to know that that is what was happening. As a result of that unwise speech, he destroyed his relations with the Belgians and gave the Congolese people hopes and expectations that could never be realised.

He also made an enemy of the leader of the Katanga region.

He was thus regarded by his own people as having reneged on promises after an impossibly short time in Government and then, having been publicly and privately brutalised by Congolese troops, finally murdered by the Congolese leader in Katanga, who ordered two Belgian policemen to dig up and destroy the body. All true and faithfully, if gruesomely, repeated in the film.

Everyone comes out badly in the film - which is only right and proper. Belgians for practising apartheid before the word was invented to cover the Boers in SA. How could anyone operate a system where, as a native, you had to be assessed to see if you had developed (`evolved' - shades of Darwin) sufficiently to be licensed to have wine in your house?

The Americans come out rather lightly in the film. Maybe it was not known at the time the film was made that the CIA station chief (Devlin, not Carlucci) was sent poisoned toothpaste to introduce into Lumumba's bathroom cabinet (he didn't). By order of Eisenhower.

The Congolese come out worst of all, appropriately, since in the long term they are the ones who also suffered (and continue to suffer) the most as a result of not being able to act together irrespective of tribal origin.

There is still in reality no country that is Congo. It remains a collection of tribal and ethnic groupings. And therefore weak and poor and ready to be exploited. All this is accurately foreshadowed in this excellent film.

A film that is horrific and unsettling, but real. Excellent.


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