Raoul Peck’s new film comes as a shock to all those who had grown used to his scalpel-like, cold style softened only by its delving into the interior world of individuals. Here, the didactic intent predominates. But it avoids falling into propaganda or radicalism. Peck develops as strong a determination on the screen as that which he shows in real life – and begins his film with the note: « this is a true story ». Indeed, at a time when light is being shed on the conditions in which the Congolese leader was killed, the film is about restoring a memory, of fighting oversight and disinformation. Lumumba is a somewhat classical fresco, therefore, whose images and music tend towards efficiency. It constitutes an almost Hollywoodish ode to the determination of this exceptional man who, faced with the back-biting of the false Congolese independence, refused to compromise and only lasted two months as Prime Minister. But there where Hollywood would have turned Lumumba into a caricatural character, Peck gets the actors to externalize their interior violence, to reveal their contradictions. In this way his combatant cinema reaches its goal: to convince. No doubt because it is truly daring and never falls into Manichaeism: Lumumba emerges in his entirety, with both his greatness and his demagoguery, his courage and his hesitations. The precision of the film’s array of actors is impressive, notably their ability to slip into the uncomfortable shoes of a Mobutu, a Tshombé, a Munungo… The result is a film we can believe in.
« Lumumba » by Raoul Peck (Haiti), with Eriq Ebouaney (Lumumba), Alex Descas (Mobutu), Théophile Moussa Sowié (Mpolo), Maka Kotto (Kasa Vubu), Dieudonné Kabongo (Munungo), Pascal Nzonzi (Tshombé), André Debaar (Ganshof), Cheick Doukouré (Okito), Oumar Diop Makena (Kanza), Mariam Kaba (Pauline Lumumba), Rudi Delhem (Janssens). Screenplay: Raoul Peck and Pascal Bonitzer, 35 mm, shot in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Belgium, prod. JBA, Distribution. Océan Films.///Article N° : 5467