Lumumba
Filmhouse/Cameo 3 ****

There is something of the Shakespearean epic about Lumumba, director Raoul Peck's second investigation of the deposed prime minister of the Congo. While 1991's much-feted Lumumba - Death of a Prophet was a straight-forward documentary, this account of the rise and fall of the Democratic Republic of Congo's enigmatic first prime minister takes the bare facts and weaves a mesmerising, grand, timeless drama.

Lumumba's story is told as the flashback of a man waiting for his execution, with interventions from an anniversary celebration of Congo's independence and his actual murder bookending the main narrative. From his days selling beer to the budding of his political career, a captivating central performance from Eriq Ebouaney makes Lumumba's story irresistible. Ebouaney inhabits this most compassionate and fierce of characters with pathos and passion.

As the land he fought to free slips beyond his control and the political machinations of post-colonial government start to churn against him, Peck's story of Lumumba's martyrdom never once stoops to sentimentality. With a dazzling array of stunning set pieces - the army raids on the marketplace, the burning of Lumumba's body and an exquisite moment on a deserted runway - this is a film which brands itself onto the conscience and leaves Lumumba's hopeful words about "the history of a new Africa" ringing in the ears.

At the Filmhouse tonight and Cameo 3 on Thursday. Box office: 0131-623 8030.

Contributor

Gareth McLean

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Perrier snub for prime contender
The Perrier award rediscovered its touch for controversy last night by snubbing the comedian who has garnered the best reviews and the most headlines at the Edinburgh Festival.

Fiachra Gibbons, arts correspondent

24, Aug, 2000 @12:38 AM

Review: The Gimmick

Traverse
***

Lyn Gardner

08, Aug, 2000 @11:00 PM

Edinburgh film review: Crane World

A study of an out-of-work Argentinian ex-musician may not sound the most promising material for a feature film, but first-time director Pablo Trapero has crafted an impressive debut - one that emphasises the dignity of his subject without lapsing into agit-prop.

Andrew Pulver

23, Aug, 2000 @11:00 PM

Review: Edinburgh: A Man of Substance in a World of Filth

A Man of Substance in a World of Filth
Gilded Balloon Backstage 2 ***

Dave Simpson

16, Aug, 2000 @11:00 PM

Edinburgh: Comedy: Ross Noble

Ross Noble
Gilded Balloon Main Theatre *

Dave Simpson

13, Aug, 2000 @11:00 PM

Review: Dream at the End of the World

Club Pleasance @ Potterrow
**

Elizabeth Mahoney

08, Aug, 2000 @11:00 PM

Edinburgh: Theatre/Dance: Don Juan

Don Juan Royal Lyceum *****

Michael Billington

16, Aug, 2000 @11:00 PM

Review: Edinburgh: Film: Water Drops On Burning Rocks

Water Drops On Burning Rocks
Filmhouse ***

Jonathan Romney

16, Aug, 2000 @11:00 PM

Edinburgh festival review: Lawrence Weiner

Inverleith House
***

Elisabeth Mahoney

15, Aug, 2000 @11:00 PM

Edinburgh festival 2000: Dance

Edinburgh Playhouse
***

Judith Mackrell

15, Aug, 2000 @11:00 PM