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Lumumba's vision of a united Africa gained him powerful enemies: the Belgian authorities, who wanted a much more paternal role in their former colony's affairs, and the CIA, who supported Lumumba's former friend Joseph Mobutu in order to protect U.S. business interests in Congo's vast resources and their upper hand in the Cold War power balance. The architects behind Lumumba's brutal death in 1961, a mere nine months after becoming the country's first Prime Minister, recently became known and are dramatized for the first time in "Lumumba."
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However, this version of the DVD in addition to being dubbed into English, is censored in at least one place. Toward the end, at a moment crucial to a historical understanding of the role of other countries (including the U.S.) in sealing Lumumba's fate, the name of the United States official is actually beeped out on the soundtrack. Why? Did it have something to do with this being the version aired on HBO?
Of course, it's possible that there are other instances of censorship on this DVD that I'm unaware of.
I'd recommend getting the subtitled Special Edition. The price isn't THAT much more and it has some good special features that make the higher price worth it.
In that regard, it's a gripping tale that shows some of the horrible footprints left behind by colonialism mixed with other pre-existing tribal aspects of the local societies, not to mention the Cold War. That indictment is what stood out when I watched it, and it's eye-opening for those who've not lived in Africa.
Since this is a review of the DVD, and not just the movie, my only disappointment is that those of us with HDTV/widescreen capable TVs/projectors will notice the poor quality of this DVD. I watched Lumumba for the first time at a film festival a couple of years ago, and was looking forward to having a good quality copy on DVD.
Unfortunately, it's been *letterboxed* to shrink the widescreen format into a 4:3 frame. I wish they had used a true anamorphic widescreen transfer that would make fuller use of a 16:9 aspect ratio/resolution. In that sense the cover text "luminous new widescreen transfer" is misleading.
At least the Special Edition is subtitled, and not dubbed or censored (from what I've read of the other version), so that's one plus for this specific edition of the DVD.
PS. Frank Carlucci's (the second secretary in the U.S. embassy in Kinshasa at the time) name is bleeped out in some versions because his lawyers pressured the film's distributors to remove all reference to him. He of course denies involvement in the assassination of Lumumba. Peck has stated that he has strong reason to believe his movie to be accurate.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting Cold War period piece, but hard to follow if you didn't know some or all of the history in advance. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Philip Summa
An entertaining and well-done movie. A look at a slice of African history that few Americans are aware of. I can remember reading of these events when they were taking place. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gary L. Havens
Must see. It tells you how we African(Blacks) betrayed each other for anything !!Published 8 months ago by Mohamed B.