• Released
  • June 27, 2001
  • 1 hr 55 min
  • Drama
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Synopsis

Patrice Lumumba was a passionate advocate for freedom in colonial Africa, and when the Belgian Congo was granted independent (and was later renamed Zaire), Lumumba was the new nation's first prime minister. However, Lumumba's dream of freedom and dignity for the people of the Congo made him a controversial and dangerous figure, and this biographical drama explores his short, tumultuous life. We first encounter Lumumba (Eriq Ebouaney) in the late 1950's, when his National Congo Movement is gaining widespread public support, despite opposition from the nation's political leaders. Hoping to avoid a violent overthrow, the Belgian government begins negotiations with the NCM to turn rule of the Congo over to the citizens, and Lumumba and his political party are swept into power during the nation's first independent election. However, Lumumba's desire to bring a peaceful and orderly transfer of power soon earns him enemies of all political stripes. Militant advocates for freedom demand that white Belgian officers of the nation's military be replaced with African soldiers at once, while Belgian colonists are met with violence, sparking a revolt by the white settlers that leads to a bloody civil war. Lumumba was directed and co-written by Raoul Peck, who previously directed the acclaimed documentary Lumumba: Death of a Prophet. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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