Past Event

CANCELLED Soundtrack to a Coup d'état

May 1, 2024
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
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East Gallery, Maison Française, Buell Hall


Film Screening & Discussion with Director Johan Grimonprez, moderated by Zoë Strother, Riggio Professor of African Art

Soundtrack to a Coup D’Etat, 2024. Belgium/France/Netherlands. Directed by Johan Grimonprez.

The year is 1960, the Voice of America Jazz Hour broadcasts the likes of Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie behind the Iron Curtain, while a wave of decolonization movements tear through the African continent and the struggle for civil rights marches on stateside. Beat by beat, Grimonprez traces Lumumba’s rise from 36-year-old independence leader to Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister—and how corporate and colonial interests, along with machinations at the United Nations, conspired in his assassination. Deeply researched, this innovative essay film interweaves archival records, home movies, newly unearthed speeches by Lumumba, and published memoirs by Congolese activists. Above all, the film (which won a World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award in 2024 at Sundance Film Festival for Cinematic Innovation) pulses with the music of the period as it leads viewers to confront what Congolese writer In Koli Jean Bofane describes as the ever-evolving “algorithm of Congo Inc.”

Open to the public, RSVP encouraged, walk-ins welcome

Organized by the Institute of African Studies, MESAAS, Maison Française - Columbia University