MAST > 19:30


Raoul Peck


Saturday 17/07/2021


Original version with subtitles


Reservation required


Film Notes

This restoration is part of the African Film Heritage Project, an initiative created by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers and UNESCO – in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna – to help locate, restore, and disseminate African cinema.

Lumumba, la mort du prophète was for me a foundational film, even though I was not aware of this when I directed it. This film took shape as I was making it. When I conceived of it I thought I was going to make a fiction film about the murder of Patrice Lumumba (a film that I would direct a decade later). The more I wrote, the more I realised that through the story of my family, I could develop a different and more efficient approach into the larger historical narrative of the Congo. The Congo was the perfect example of everything that has happened in other countries in the Third World, in African countries in particular.
At the time, I also was struck by the work of Chris Marker, one of the rare directors who made the stories of others his own while also being integrated into the other’s imagination.
I decided to integrate the thrust of the film into the actual film as it was being made. This required a tremendous dose of flexibility during production, but then it also gave me unbelievable creative freedom. In particular it gave me the ability to use archives, to decrypt them, to un-distort them, and to have them disclose what they had not clearly revealed. But first, I had to find those archives! Before the age of the Internet, before digital archives could be accessed, a young Congolese who wanted to speak about his own history – when he finally could access his own archive – had to pay $3,000 for a minute of archival footage in broadcasting rights. […] Before we left for Congo we found out that the Mobutu regime’s services were expecting us. It was too dangerous, we had to cancel the trip and lost a number of producers. As a result we took a creative decision that gave the film its strength: we decided to shoot Lumumba in Brussels, the very city where the plan to murder him was hatched. We turned a setback into a dramatic twist and in fact integrated it into the film and that in turn gave a reflexive quality to the importance of the image (both mental and as material) in the documentary.

Raoul Peck interviewed by Olivier Barlet in Tony Pressley-Sanon and Sophie Saint-Just (eds.), Raoul Peck. Power Politics and the Cinematic Imagination, Lexington Books, 2015

Cast and Credits

Sog., Scen.: Raoul Peck. F.: Matthias Kälin, Philippe Ross. M.: Eva Schlensag, Aïlo Auguste, Raoul Peck. Éric Vaucher. Prod.: Velvet Film, Cinémamma (Zurigo) in collaborazione con Télévision Suisse DRS, La SEPT. DCP. Bn e Col.