Almost a year ago, I reported on Chiwetel Ejiofor’s return to the stage this summer to
play Congolese nationalist hero Patrice
Lumumba, in poet and political activist Aimé
Césaire’s play A Season in the Congo,
at the Young Vic in London. The new stage
production was directed by Joe Wright, who helmed the films Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Hanna, and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.
Now the Young Vic has announced an expansive new plan in
which they intend to make feature films based on previous stage productions, and the theater company currently has two films in development – one being a film version
of Hennik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, which is currently playing.
But the first one scheduled to go into production will be a film
version of A Season in the Congo, to
be shot in Kinshasa, with Ejiofor starring, and Wright directing.
Césaire’s play tells the story of the 1960 Congo
rebellion, and the assassination of the charismatic political leader.
Lumumba was the first prime minister of the newly
independent Congo after its release from colonialist Belgian rule. However, his
plans for the future of the country were considered too radical and threatening
by some, and he was overthrown in a coup, and assassinated in 1961 in a
Of course, many of you will remember that there was a film about
the life of Lumumba directed by Raoul
Peck, released in 2000.
Césaire was born in Martinique
and educated in Paris. He founded the Martinique
Independent Revolution Party as well as the literary and ideological
movement known as Négritude (along
with Léopold Sédar Senghor). He was
well known for his intense personal opposition to Western imperialism and
racism and was the subject of a 1994 documentary directed by Euzhan Palcy.
According to The Young Vic, a “spin-off” short film
based on the play will be released in November as well.
h/t Candace Allen