"Lumumba" is also the title of a excellent film about his life, starring Eriq
Ebouaney, and directed by
Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck. The film shows details
of Lumumba's life, starting with his arrival in Kinshasha
as a 3rd Class Postal Clerk, continuing through
the independence movement, his two months in
office as Prime Minister, and his eventual execution
by members of Mobutu's army.
The film pulls no punches, and its utterly gut-wrenching,
Orwellian conclusion ( Mobutu asking for a minute of
silence in memory of "National Hero, Patrice Lumumba")
is depressing beyond words. The film does an excellent
job of showing the charisma and strength of character
which made Lumumba such a threat to Western interests, and
which earned him many enemies within the Congo.
The one thing that might
improve the film, actually, is a longer running time.
Just shorter than 2 hours, there is not enough time
to show any of Lumumba's earlier years, the experiences
which pushed him toward seeking independence, or much
in the way of the social and political milieu which might
help us to understand the difficulty of Lumumba's position
in office. The camera stays on him almost continuously,
thus giving an excellent impression of the bewildering
pace of events surrounding the first months of independence,
but not quite helping with providing extra background.
Well worth seeing, particularly if you are already
familiar with the history of the region. A site
which is very helpful in acquiring some of this background is
that of the the film's American distributor,
Zeitgeist Films, at www.zeitgeistfilm.com