Film about the Congo’s first prime minister to be shown at Wake Forest Jan. 29

“Lumumba,” a film about former Congolese prime minister Patrice Lumumba, will be shown at Wake Forest University on Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. in Benson University Center’s Pugh Auditorium. Director Raoul Peck will hold a question-and-answer session after the screening. This event is free and open to the public.

“Lumumba,” is based on the true story of Patrice Lumumba who became Congo’s first prime minister when Belgium conceded its independence in June 1960. Chosen by the Belgians to work under Congo president Joseph Kasavubu, Lumumba’s vision of a united Africa quickly gained him powerful enemies. His efforts to create a Pan-African union of states led by the Congo drew sharp criticism from the Belgians who favored Kasavubu’s federalist approach to government.

The film chronicles Lumumba’s short term, including a military coup that threatened his government, causing the Belgians to send in troops to protect its citizens and the United Nations to intervene.

In September 1960, Lumumba was dismissed as prime minister and was put under house arrest. He escaped, but was recaptured and was killed in January 1961.

Peck, director of “Lumumba,” is a native of Haiti. He lived in the Republic of Congo for almost 25 years and is the president of the Caribbean Federation of Film and Video. He also served as cultural minister of Haiti.

In a New York Times review of “Lumumba,” Elvis Mitchell said it offers “a breathtaking amount of information, rolling through history swiftly and boldly yet conveying an epic investment in characterization as Lumumba’s power and comrades inexorably fade, victims of the conflict in the Congo.”

He also said that lead actor Eriq Ebouaney’s portrayal of the title character “ranks with the sinewy complication of Denzel Washington’s workout as Malcolm X.”

For more information, call the Wake Forest Department of International Studies at 336-758-5938.

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